- When it comes to finding solutions to the many problems
facing our lives, His Holiness the Dalai Lama's message, "Change only
takes place through action" might very well have been the rallying
call that galvanized the millions of women throughout the world to support
the annual Breast Cancer Awareness month.
- Every October since 1985, pink ribbons are displayed
in posters, magazine advertisements and proudly adorn women's lapels heralding
Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The multitudes of runs, hikes, walks and
other fund raising events raise hundred of millions of dollars to conquer
that dreaded scourge of the modern woman, breast cancer. High profile companies
like Avon, Lee Denim and Revlon have joined ranks along with the Susan
G. Komen Foundation's "Race for the Cure" and the City of Hope
Hospital's "Walk for Hope". Popular celebrities lead the charge.
- Each year 180,000 women will be diagnosed with breast
cancer and 44,000 will die of the disease. The US has one of the highest
breast cancer rates in the world. Fifty years ago the incidence of Breast
Cancer for a woman's life time risk was one in twenty. Now it has skyrocketed
to one in eight. Clearly the so-called war on cancer has not even made
a dent in the breast cancer epidemic as the rates continue to climb at
the rate of one per cent per year.
- The motto of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is "Early
Detection is Your Best Protection". Since the National Cancer Institute
stated in 1995 that "Breast cancer is simply not a preventable disease".
A tune reiterated in 1997 by the American Cancer Society who also announced
that "there are no practical ways to prevent breast cancer - only
early detection." So mammograms are the front line of defence. Celebrities
like Rosie O'Donnell offer free t-shirts with the honorable words "I've
been Squished" if you'll make a date with your local x-ray department.
So let's all join in and wave our pink ribbons and don
those running shoes and take to the roads, right? Wait! Before you get
swept up by the emotional frenzy of this call to arms, there is something
you should know.
- Breast Cancer Awareness month's primary sponsor and mastermind
of the event in 1985 was Zeneca Pharmaceutical's, now known as AstraZeneca.
Zeneca is the company that manufactures the controversial and widely prescribed
breast cancer drug, Tamoxifen. Did you know all TV, radio and print media
campaigns are paid for and must be approved by Zeneca. It is less known
that Zeneca also makes herbicides and fungicides. One of their products,
the organochlorine pesticide, Acetochlor is implicated as a causal factor
in breast cancer. It's Perry Ohio chemical plant is the third largest source
of potential cancer-causing pollution in the U.S., spewing 53,000 pounds
of recognized carcinogens into the air in 1996.
- When it comes to environmental toxicity, carcinogens
found in pesticides, herbicides, plastics and other toxic chemicals that
are known to cause cancer, especially breast cancer, there is booming silence
by all Breast Cancer Awareness Month programs. Did the alarming increase
of breast cancer rates just mysteriously happen? Or perhaps, the focus
on the cure has conveniently ignored the cause? After, all it wouldn't
really be good PR for Zeneca to have it known that their chemical products
directly contribute to the breast cancer epidemic.
- Many experts predicted as far back as 30 years ago that
cancer rates would increase citing an explosion of synthetic chemicals.
From 1940 through the early 1980's production of synthetic chemicals increased
by a factor of 350.
- Billions of tons of toxic substances, that never existed
are now released into the environment. Yet only 3 percent of the 75,000
chemicals in use have been tested for safety. These toxic time bombs are
found in our water, air and soil. Women who live hear toxic waste dumps
have 6.5 times the incidence of breast cancer.
- A survey conducted by Dr. Mary Wolff of Mt. Sinai Hospital,
New York found that women with breast cancer had four times the levels
of DDE found in non-carcinogenic tumors. Also, another study investigating
why upper class women in the community of Newton, Massachusetts had higher
breast cancer rates than the lower economic women. The researchers attributed
the increase to greater use of professional lawn care service and more
- The pesticide - breast cancer link was stunningly highlighted
in research from Israel which linked three organochlorine pesticides detected
in dairy products to an increase of 12 types of cancer in 10 different
strains of mice. After public outcry in 1978 the Israeli government was
forced to ban the pesticides - Benzene Hexachloride, DDT, and Lindane.
Interestingly, breast cancer mortality rates which had increased every
year for 25 years, dropped nearly 8 per cent for all age groups and dropped
more than a thirty three percent for women ages 25-34 in 1986.
- The American Cancer Society was founded with the support
of the Rockefeller family in 1913. Members of the chemical and pharmaceutical
industry have long had a place on its board. Could that have something
to do with the fact that the American Cancer Society's latest report on
cancer prevention makes no mention of environmental factors?
- Perhaps we can forgive Zeneca's involvement with carcinogenic
chemicals, since it researched and patented the most popular breast cancer
treatment, Tamoxifen grossing 500 million dollars a year. Perhaps not.
On May 16, 2000 the New York Times reported that the National Institute
for Environmental Health Sciences listed substances that are known to cause
cancer. Tamoxifen was included in that list!!
- It is known that Tamoxifen causes uterine cancer, liver
cancer and gastro-intestinal cancer. After just two to three years of use,
Tamoxifen will increase the incidence of uterine cancer by two to three
times. The treatment for uterine cancer is an hysterectomy. In addition,
Tamoxifen increased the risk of strokes, blood clots, eye damage, menopausal
symptoms, and depression.
- The biggest shock of all is the fact that Tamoxifen will
increase the risk of breast cancer! The journal Science published a study
from Duke University Medical Center in 1999 showing that after 2 - 5 years,
Tamoxifen actually initiated the growth of breast cancer!
- So, Zeneca, the originator of Breast Cancer Awareness
month is the manufacturer of carcinogenic petrochemicals, carcinogenic
pollutants and a breast cancer drug that causes at least four different
types of cancer in women, including breast cancer. I ask you to stop and
think, "Is something wrong with this picture?"
- So, since the Breast Cancer Awareness Month spin doctors
claim that breast cancer is "simply not a preventable disease",
the focus has shifted to the theme of early detection. Women are now encouraged
to get their early mammogram. At one time, only women 50 years or older
were told to get this screening. Now the campaign is targeting 40 year
olds and even women as young as 25. However, detecting breast cancer with
mammography does not protect women from breast cancer.
- More questions are being raised about the validity of
mammograms. A mammogram is an , x-ray. The only acknowledged cause of cancer
by the American Cancer Society is from radiation. When it comes to radiation,
there is no safe level of exposure.
- "There is clear evidence that the breast, particularly
in premenopausal women, is highly sensitive to radiation, with estimates
of increased risk of up to one percent for every RAD (radiation absorbed
dose) unit of x-ray exposure. Even for low dosage exposure of two RADs
or less, this exposure can add up quickly for women having an annual mammography,"
notes Samuel Epstein, M.D., Professor of Occupational and Environmental
Medicine at the University of Illinios School of Public Health. "More
recent concern comes from evidence that one percent of women, or over one
million women in the United States alone, carry a gene that increases their
breast cancer risk from radiation fourfold."
- In addition, mammography provides false tumor reports
of between 5 and 15 percent of the time. False positive results cause women
to be re-exposed to additional X rays and create an environment of further
stress, even possibly leading to unneeded surgery.
- "Furthermore." says Dr. Epstein, "while
there is a general consensus that mammography improves early cancer detection
and survival in post-menopausal women, no such benefit is demonstrable
for younger women." Still, the American Cancer Society recommends
annual or biannual mammography for all women ages forty to fifty-five or
- "Mammograms increase the risk for developing breast
cancer and raise the risk of spreading or metastasizing an existing growth,'
says Dr. Charles B. Simone, a former clinical associate in immunology and
pharmacology at the National Cancer Institute. Safer and even more effective
diagnostic techniques like infrared thermography, has been vigorously attacked
by the Breast Cancer Awareness organizations.
- It is also noteworthy to point out that General Electric,
a major polluter in PCB's in the Hudson River, N.Y. area, manufactures
- So all the hullabaloo that comes each October, enlisting
women's support and hard-earned cash does nothing to really eliminate the
cause of this devastating disease. Instead, women's heart-felt desires
and good intentions to find the cause and cure are usurped by the hidden
agendas of major transnational corporations pushing their toxic drug treatments
and diagnostic tools that show to contribute to even more breast cancer.
It makes one wonder if the cancer establishment is really interested in
a cure at all.
- Women can make a difference. The causes of cancer are
already known. Toxic diets, toxic lifestyles, toxic environments, toxic
drug treatments and toxic diagnostic techniques cause cancer. Corporations
are only interested in increasing their profits and ensuring their tentacles
of control, not in actual solutions. When it comes to Breast Cancer Awareness
Month, women must invest their time and money into projects, initiatives
and treatments that will truly make a difference. Perhaps, it is time to
return those pink ribbons.
For the American Cancer Society's View Of Mammograms
- and Breast Cancer Diagnosis:
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