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Wednesday 23rd May 2018

Breast cancer awareness

2nd October 2008

Writing in The Guardian, Libby Brooks points to the uncomfortable questions that the growth of the breast cancer industry raises.


The breast cancer industry has gone into pink overdrive for breast cancer awareness month in October.

You can buy anything from plastic ducks to pink products from Next or Fashion Targets Breast Cancer T-shirts which are being modelled by a range of celebrities.

Breast cancer is indeed "the darling disease of the corporate world," lodging itself in the national consciousness.

It is now the most common cancer in Britain, though not the most common killer of women, which is lung cancer. Early intervention means most women survive breast cancer whereas half of lung cancer patients die within six months of diagnosis.

There are also many breast cancer charities, raising millions of pounds a year while the only national lung cancer charity, the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, raises £4.5m annually.

But breast cancer disease rates have soared 50% in the last two decades in industrialised countries, with little said about the possible links between it and everyday chemicals. And the majority of funds are spent on treatment rather than prevention while manufacturers appropriate the pink ribbon for gain.

Breast cancer also has a celebrity driven profile, unwittingly and wrongly suggesting it is a young woman’s affliction, though 80% of cases are in the over-50s.

Fortunately, breast cancer can be discussed openly in society but the existence of a breast cancer industry also raises important questions.

We must keep the discussion going, but also remember that cancer "doesn't always put you in the pink."


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Article Information

Title: Breast cancer awareness
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 8598
Date Added: 2nd Oct 2008


The Guardian

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