The Marketing of Breast Cancer

| November 6, 2002 Issue

A midst the high spirits at the annual Susan G. Komen Fondation 5K Race for the Cure, the Toxic Links Coalition holds up signs and passes out leaflets to challenge the Foundation's narrow focus on finding a medical cure for breast cancer, rather than looking at the environmental causes of cancer and exploring issues regarding insurance and corporate influence over patients.

In the Fairfield County Weekly, Mary Ann Swissler investigates how the Komen Foundation and other breast cancer organizations gloss over the underlying causes of cancer, ignore concerns of underrepresented groups of women. Swissler argues that these groups' cozy relationships with corporations and government have led them to oppose beneficial treatments for women with breast cancer. In one instance, the Komen Foundation lobbied against a consumer-friendly version of the Patient's Bill of Rights, instead lobbying for the Republican interpretation of the bill that gave more power to HMOs.

Though she has devoted her work to pressuring breast cancer groups with corporate ties, Judy Brady of the Toxic Links Coalition notes that "It would be a mistake to demonize the Komen Foundation. . . . I truly believe that they think they are doing good." According to Brady, "What's missing is the truth" in the breast cancer organizations that are influenced by their corporate connections and ties to administrations, which have led them to seek politically acceptable cures rather than looking for underlying causes of cancer.
--Erica Sagrans
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