National Mammography Day – Addressing Misinformation

In honor of today, National Mammography Day, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I want to address some of the misleading information about mammograms/breast cancer and highlight two amazing organizations to support instead of Komen —

  1. Mammograms are NOT effective for young women. This is because younger women have denser breast tissue. (Also, remember that mammograms are x-rays, which means you are exposed to radiation every time you get one).
  2. Mammograms detect, they do not prevent. Additionally, there are significant problems with over-diagnosis of DCIS, leading to unnecessary treatment and surgery, and false-positive diagnoses. For the age bracket of 40s and 50s, mammography has decreased mortality by only 15%. In contrast, 60% of them will receive a false-positive diagnosis.
  3. Focusing on mammograms to detect cancers and pouring money into “searching for a cure” deflects attention away from true prevention. Very few breast cancers are attributed to traditional risk factors (family history/genetics is only about 10% of cases). Despite evidence, environmental pollution and manmade carcinogens are horrifically ignored and minimized in discourses about cancer prevention.
  4. If you want to contribute money or support organizations that are focused on real prevention and reducing the number of diagnosed cases of breast cancer, check out these two organizations:
    1. Breast Cancer Action – http://bcaction.org/ BCAction focuses on addressing the underlying social, economic, and political structures that contribute to breast cancer, as well as highlighting the environmental causes of cancer. They advocate for women’s rights, patient’s rights, less toxic treatments, and call out Pinkwashers. They also provide scientifically based and unbiased information about breast cancer.
    2. Breast Cancer Fund – http://www.breastcancerfund.org The Breast Cancer Fund addresses the connections between environmental toxins, radiation, and breast cancer.

In summary, I encourage everyone to think beyond the simple pink ribbon awareness of BCAM. If you are interested in learning more about the problematic approach to breast cancer that is commonplace in our society, you can read my Master’s Thesis at my website (www.rerobinson.net) or check out the two organizations noted above.

I would also highly recommend reading the book, Pink Ribbons Inc, by Samantha King.

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