Arizona Advanced Medicine Clinic

Public Relations and Cancer

This article appeared in 1998. Has anything changed since then?

I just came back from the annual meeting of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. I have been asked to be the principal author of a paper on Cancer and the Environment.

Many of us have a vague feeling that the environment is somehow important, but the complexity is overwhelming, and no one person can possibly know it all.

We have one paper on the AAEM website on electro-magnetic radiation (2) which has been a great boon for people of many different organizations. The Academy plans to put out many more papers on environmental issues.

I began to reflect on the “pink month”, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which still happens in October every year.

I learned that this phenomenon was launched in 1987 by Imperial Chemical Industries, a British chemical company. Has anyone noticed how the literature does not publish any information about environmental or chemical causes of cancer, breast cancer or otherwise?

I have written about breast cancer, both treatment and causes, in other segments of this website.

Now it is time to learn about the sponsors, and to wonder about the purpose of the awareness month.

Is there anyone on the planet who is not aware that breast cancer is a major problem in the world?

So who exactly is spending all the money on promotion of this awareness month? And why are they spending so much money?

Astra-Zeneca, the subsidiary of Imperial Chemical Industries, appears to have control over what is publicized and released to the press during the Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Zeneca is the sole owner of a Selick, a chain of health care clinics whose major purpose is to treat cancer.[1] “NBCAM was founded in 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries (now part of AstraZeneca, maker of several anti-breast cancer drugs). The aim of the NBCAM from the start has been to promote mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer.” ~ Wikipedia[2] When the "contact us" link is clicked, an e-mail option comes up on the screen, nbcam@astrazeneca.com which leads one to suspect that perhaps AstraZeneca is pretty high up in the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month chain.

General Electric, a major polluter of carcinogenic PCBs in a 200 mile stretch of the Hudson River, sells upwards of $100 million annually in mammography machines.(3) To quote from their literature: “We envision a day when cancer is no longer a deadly disease. Building on GE’s cancer commitment, we aim to bring the most promising cancer ideas to market, develop technologies that improve accuracy of diagnosis and enable more effective treatment decisions, and empower doctors and patients with better information,” … John Dineen, President and CEO of GE Healthcare. And from their website: “Early Health is focused on enabling earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment of disease so that people live longer and lead more productive, fulfilling lives.” [downloaded from the website http://www.ge.com/innovation/health/index.html]

Monsanto, a world leader in the field of genetically modified seeds and chemical pesticides, shown – in a recent long-term study of the effect of GMO corn on rats (4) – to promote the development of breast cancer. Ironic that they should be one of the sponsors of the awareness month. You may wish to read the recent blog piece on that study by Eric Seralini and colleagues.

These are the American Cancer Society’s guidelines for breast cancer.

  • Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health.
  • Clinical breast exam (CBE) about every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over.
  • Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast change promptly to their health care provider. Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s.
  • Some women - because of their family history, a genetic tendency, or certain other factors - should be screened with MRI in addition to mammograms. (The number of women who fall into this category is small: less than 2% of all the women in the US.) Talk with your doctor about your history and whether you should have additional tests at an earlier age.

So who exactly benefits from the publicity surrounding the "Breast Cancer Awareness Month"?


[1] http://www.answers.com/topic/salick-health-care-inc

Monsanto, a world leader in the field of genetically modified seeds and chemical pesticides, shown – in a recent long-term study of the effect of GMO corn on rats (4) – to promote the development of breast cancer. Ironic that they should be one of the sponsors of the awareness month. You may wish to read the recent blog piece on that study by Eric Seralini and colleagues.

These are the American Cancer Society’s guidelines for breast cancer.

So who exactly benefits from the publicity surrounding the "Breast Cancer Awareness Month"?

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