By Dr. Dana Myatt
October is “Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” and the little pink ribbons are as plentiful as Halloween candy.
Pink is everywhere – on kitchen appliances, on NFL football players, even pink beer…
Have you ever given money to breast cancer research or purchased a “little pink ribbon” to show your support and solidarity? If you have, I believe you’ve been duped by Big Pharma’s and Big Government’s bogus “research projects,” and thrown good money toward a losing game.
Before you shoot the messenger, let me explain why the “little pink ribbon” has me seeing red.
Problems abound with breast cancer fund-raising and research:
First, Money often doesn’t go to actual research.
As much as 90% of revenues can be spent on “administrative” and “fundraising” costs. Depending on which charity your money goes to, the actual money generated for gifting can be less than 10%. That’s ugly.
To find out which charities retain most of their revenues for genuine research contribution, check out your favorite charity at http://www.charitynavigator.org/
For example, in past years we reported that the Coalition Against Breast Cancer had a very poor record and spent the majority of it’s income on “administrative costs.” In 2011 according to CharityNavigator.org the Coalition Against Breast Cancer was shut down for fraud:
- New York’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit to shut down Coalition Against Breast Cancer, calling it a sham charity, for fraudulently raising millions of dollars under the guise of fighting breast cancer, only to funnel the money to organization insiders and fundraisers.
- In August 2011, The Wall Street Journal reported that two of the people behind this organization plead guilty to grand larceny, scheming to defraud and falsifying business records. They still face a civil lawsuit.
The American Breast Cancer Foundation spends 76% of it’s income on administrative and fund-raising costs
The United Breast Cancer Foundation spends 71% of revenues on admin and fundraising
Even the mighty Komen Foundation has been hit with controversy, and has been accused of overstating the supposed benefits of mammograms while downplaying the risks. Interestingly, General Electric, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of mammography machines, is a major corporate donor to the Komen Foundation…
And “Think Before You Pink,” a service of Breast Cancer Action, offers some additional tips and insider information about donating to breast cancer research:
When you “give to the cure,” you might want to verify where your money is going and how much of it is actually being spent on breast cancer research.
Second, Money funds more conventional cancer research, but conventional research, diagnosis and treatments are not improving cancer mortality rates significantly.
Conventional breast cancer treatments don’t work. At least not very well. Cancer research organizations that put money into Big Pharma are betting on the wrong horse.
Despite press releases and proclamations which tell us that we’re “winning the war on breast cancer” (thanks, of course, to all of our collective millions of giving), the truth is that conventional cancer diagnosis and treatment have gotten us next to nowhere.
According to statistics published by the National Cancer Institute, the breast cancer rate has declined 1.7% between 1998 and 2007. That, they say, is a “significant” change.(1)
Of course, we are led to believe that this 1.7% drop is due to improvements in diagnosis (mammograms) and conventional treatment. But the statistics show otherwise.
Instead, the single biggest drop in breast cancer rates of all time occurred in 2002-2003 when women flocked away from conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after news “broke” that it increased breast cancer risk. According to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer rates fell 6.7% — a heck of a lot bigger drop than the 1.7% being touted – when over 40 million women stopped taking conventional hormone prescriptions. (2) Actually, the association between HRT and breast cancer was known as early as the 1960′s. (3) For shame.
In Canada, a 9.6% drop in breast cancer rates was noted when hormone replacement therapy use declined.(4)
Whether it be a 6.7% or a 9.6% drop, that’s a much bigger improvement that our 1.7% “statistically significant” decrease claimed in the US as a result of millions of dollars of mammogram screenings and expensive chemotherapy.
The single biggest drop we’ve seen in recent years in breast cancer happened when women flocked away from conventional hormone therapy in droves. In other words, the best thing that conventional medicine has done to stem the tide of breast cancer is to have women “just say no” to a breast-cancer-causing conventional hormone treatment!
So, the “significant” 1.7% decrease in breast cancer rates in over a decade includes the 6.7% drop in breast cancer due to women discontinuing conventional hormone replacement therapy. Instead of a new drug or surgical treatment being responsible for this modest decline in breast cancer rates, the decline is actually due to women avoiding a dangerous conventional drug.
This also begs the question — if we are to believe that a 1.7% drop in cancer incidence is “significant,” how come the 2.7 increase between 1995-1998 was not also “significant”? And how come the 6.7% drop when millions of women stopped conventional HRT isn’t WAY significant? (1) Are we perhaps over-selling the “winning the war” statistics in order to give people a warm fuzzy and encourage them to keep contributing?
Much more is known about how to prevent cancer than how to cure it.
Of the millions of dollars raised and donated to conventional cancer research, how come none of this money — nay, not even a little bit of it — is spent educating women on prevention? After all, an ounce of prevention really IS worth a pound of cure.
Forget the measly 1.7% decline in breast cancer rates over the past 9 years, let’s talk about what is known about prevention. The preventive aspects of breast cancer, and how much the risks can be lowered, make the “statistically significant 1.7%” look even more ridiculous. Consider the truly huge improvements in breast cancer rates that could be achieved with known preventive measures.
Overweight/obesity. Fat cells manufacture estrogen. We already know about the estrogen/breast cancer connection. The fatter a woman, the more breast cancer risk, at least for post-menopausal females. How big is this risk?
Women who gain 55 pounds or more after age 18 have a 50% greater risk of breast cancer compared with those who maintained their weight. A gain of 22 pounds or more after menopause was associated with an increased risk of 18%, whereas losing at least 22 pounds after menopause and maintaining the weight loss was associated with 57% lower breast cancer risk. In case you missed this, let me repeat, a whopping FIFTY-SEVEN PERCENT DECREASED RISK by losing 22 pounds. (5)
This is incredible news. Instead of putting pink ribbons on buckets of fast-food chicken, why aren’t these “concerned” cancer organizations telling women to back away from the fried chicken, shed a few pounds and drop their risk of breast cancer like a rock?
Exercise. Invasive, estrogen-receptor negative cancers (less common, more deadly) can be reduced 55 percent by long-term, strenuous physical activity or 47% by long-term moderate physical activity. This amounts to 5 hours of exercise per week. (6) Let’s see…. a 47% drop compared to a 1.7% drop? “Long-term means you start exercising when you are a young woman and continue weekly exercise throughout life. Shouldn’t some of the “little pink ribbon” money be spent educating young women about the profound reduction in cancer risk from a modest amount of exercise, instead of just selling annual mammogram screening?
Even if you didn’t start exercising as a younger woman, it’s never too late to benefit. In one study from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) as little as 1.25 to 2.5 hours per week of brisk walking reduced a woman’s risk by 18%. (7) Let’s see… 18% vs. 1.7%… Did you hear any of this from the “little pink ribbon” sponsors?
Alcohol contributes a small additional risk. Women who drink 2-5 drinks per day have 1 1/2 times the risk as non-drinkers. The effect is magnified in women who use conventional hormone replacement therapy. (8) This amounts to a small increase in risk, but remember — all the millions of dollars of “little pink ribbon” money have amounted to only a small decrease in risk.
Why should you and I fund Big Pharma’s search for newer, deadlier, ineffective drugs that they are going to profit from? Fund your own darned drug studies I say …
Alrighty, so you run your butt off in a “race for the cure,” to raise money to assist drug companies in researching more drugs. Some of these drugs cost upwards of $10,000/month to the patient (while costing the drug companies a pittance).
And then YOU get breast cancer. Do you get a discount because you helped Big Pharma fund a drug that might increase your survival by maybe 8 weeks? NO. You, or more likely your insurer, will be paying full price for your treatment.
Mike Adams sums this warped situation up succinctly:
“For most diseases, the race for the cure is really just a way for drug companies to shift R&D costs to suckers. You fund the R&D, and then you get to pay full price for the drug they drummed up thanks to your generous donation. “ – Mike Adams
Dr. Myatt’s Summary:
Millions of dollars spent over the last 3 decades and what do we have? A mere 1.7% reduction in breast cancer mortality. And most if not ALL of this decrease is due to declining use of conventional hormone therapy.
On the other hand, we already know simple ways to slash breast cancer risk by up to 50% and more.
Until some of the “little pink ribbon” money goes toward public education about how to reduce risks, and some of the money goes to research non-toxic treatments, and until the “little pink ribbon” folks don’t whore their honor by allowing their icons on junk food and toxic perfumes, I’m keeping my money closer to home.
1.) Altekruse SF, Kosary CL, Krapcho M, Neyman N, Aminou R, Waldron W, Ruhl J, Howlader N, Tatalovich Z, Cho H, Mariotto A, Eisner MP, Lewis DR, Cronin K, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Stinchcomb DG, Edwards BK (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2007, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2007/, based on November 2009 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, 2010. http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/breast.html#incidence-mortality
The joinpoint trend in SEER cancer incidence with associated APC(%) for cancer of the breast between 1975-2007, All Races Female
If there is a negative sign before the number, the trend is a decrease; otherwise it is an increase. If there is an asterisk after the APC then the trend was significant, that is, one believes that it is beyond chance, i.e. 95% sure,
2.) NCI website accessed 10-26-10:
3.) McCarthy JD. Influence of two contraceptives on induction of mammary cancer in rats. Am J Surg. 1965 Nov;110(5):720-3.
4.) Breast Cancer , accessed 10-26-10: http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/new_research/20100924.jsp
5.) Morimoto LM, White E, Chen Z, et al. Obesity, body size, and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer: the Women’s Health Initiative (United States). Cancer Causes Control. Oct 2002;13(8):741-751.
6.) NCI website accessed 10-26-10:
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