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Topic: The Retail Sale of Breast Cancer

Forum: Clinical Trials, Research News, Podcasts, and Study Results —

Share your research articles, interpretations and experiences here. Let us know how these studies affect you and your decisions.

Posted on: Jun 18, 2007 11:01PM

boobbuster wrote:

Have you all heard the phrase "Pink Stinks"? Before I was dx with breast cancer I often saw the pink ribbons as a trademark for breast cancer research. However now as a stage 4 breast cancer patient I feel that the campaigns didn't educate me or convey correct information. In fact, it sort of led to my naive state of mind that 98% of breast cancer is "cured", when in fact, it's far from the truth.

I think we should "think before we pink"; meaning we should look at what the COMPANY is doing to help breast cancer awareness other than the 2 cents they donate for buying their product. I mean, a cigarette manufac. could donate proceeds from the sale of their product but would you want it?

When people buy things with the "pink" logo they somehow think they have contributed to erradicating breast cancer when in fact they haven't. I just think that the retail of breast cancer has gotten out of control and that addressing the environmental concerns that some of these marketing allainces creates should be looked at. What are your thoughts? God is able, Stephanie Log in to post a reply

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Jun 18, 2007 11:08PM joanne_elizabeth wrote:

Yes I agree with you. If you want to make a donation, do it to a reputable research group and skip the stupid, infantilizing bows, pink bears etc. This is not a sisterhood nor a sorority that we voluntarily joined. It is a sometimes killer disease. There is nothing cute, nor pink about my missing breast.
I saw a woman sporting a metallic pink bow last week and I felt like screaming at her, what the heck does that have to do with breast cancer? The race for the cure is really a race for more chemo drugs. How about a race for the prevention while we clean up this toxic country we eat and breath in? The whole point of these pink sales is to make the purchasers believe they are actually doing something. If they really want to do something, get active in the environmental groups, pressure the idiots in DC to spend a fraction of what they spend on wars on cancer prevention and give a dollar to someone who wants to eradicate this disease.
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Jun 18, 2007 11:26PM ADK wrote:

I agree whole-heartedly. BC is the disease du jour. It seems like just about everyone's life is touched by it in one way or another. I used to do the $5 donation to wear jeans on one day in October and thought no more of it. I thought I was helping. Now, I hate the little pink ribbons. It seems like every company is jumping on the band wagon (Campbell's soup, Barbie dolls, even car repair shops!!!!). I think they are using it as a marketing tool and nothing more. It's a dreadful potentially killer disease and I suspect they don't really want to find a cure. There's way too much money involved. I am, however, probably the most paranoid person on the planet. Just because you are paranoid, it doesn't mean that "they" aren't after you.

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Jun 19, 2007 12:33AM ravdeb wrote:

We don't have the retail sale of breast cancer here in Israel. We have the opposite. There is no awareness at all of this and though important research is going on here, there is little talk, in my opinion about breast care. There are no pink ribbons to buy and no relays for the cure, either.

Periodically my oncologist, who runs research in breast cancer, will be on TV for an interview but other than that, little is mentioned. I heard very little during October which is Breast Cancer awareness month (and the month I started chemo).

I will admit that when I see these things in the States, I'm happy to see it because it shows an awareness of the disease. On the other hand, I can also see a pattern of breast cancer being the in disease to have and the disappearance of the fact that cancer is not IN but rather a killer.

So can be overkill ( pun intended) but it can also wake people up to the fact that we need money for research.
IDC, 2cm, triple negative, grade 3, node neg Dx 9/5/2005, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 19, 2007 10:34AM Jinx wrote:

I had recieved a lot informative info on breast cancer prior to my dx. I used to toss it because I was sure it would never happen to me.

On one occasion, about 10 yrs. ago, I received in the mail, a prosthesis like boob with instructions to feel for the 'lump' so I would know what a cancer lump felt like. It felt like a bb in the boob.

Pink bows don't bother me. Shows someone cares. That's important. Breast cancer needs an identifiable flag -- keep it on everyone's mind!

Sure, there are those taking advantage of it - like the Barbie doll, but for the most part, I believe a great part of donations for breast cancer products does go to research and education.

I recieved a beutiful Kenneth J Lane pink stone bow pin from a dear friend (who now lives in another state) with a note: "I got one for me to remind me that my dear friend has cancer and one for you to remind you of me and our promise to grow old together."

I loved the gift! And the note! And I have worn the pin often and appreciate that folks realize the pink bow is a reminder for breast cancer awareness.

I have since found out that KJ Lane donates a portion of the proceeds for that pin to breast cancer research. The pin was designed only for that reason.
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Jun 19, 2007 11:29AM boobbuster wrote:

Breast Cancer Awareness month, which is every October was founded by the drug maker AstraZeneca who manufactures the breast cancer drug tamoxifen and other chemotherapies. Before they made millions from breast cancer therapies they sold agrochemicals which are carcingen's for crops.

I'd like to see breast cancer prevention discussed. "Education Not Medication" is the leading theory now. Ok, here's one for you... Define Breast cancer prevention and has anyone told you how it works? Why hasn't money gone toward this? The mammogram actually causes breast cancer by radiating the breast tissue which causes DNA mutations in breast cells. 70% of all cancer can be prevented.

22 things that PREVENT cancer:

Vitamin D and sunshine

Anti-cancer foods - organic

Green tea

Broccoli and cruciferous vegetables

Medicinal mushrooms - reishi, shiitake, agaricus blazei, etc.

Lycopene and tomatoes

Infra-red saunas and sweat lodges - because sweating expels toxins


Pomegranate seeds -

Omega-3 oils / chia seeds

Rainforest herbs - There are many anti-cancer rainforest herbs, including graviola and Cat's Claw (Una de Gato).

Juice detoxification



Red clover - Helps cleanse the blood.

Deep breathing / oxygenation / stress reduction

Yoga, Tai Chi or Pilates - These all boost lymph circulation

Cacao - (real chocolate)

Therapeutic massage - helps move lymph, boost circulation

Apricot pits / laetrile / vitamin B17

Blackberries - Most berries contain some form of anti-cancer medicine

18 things that CAUSE cancer: (in no particular order)
Smoking cigarettes
Drinking non-organic milk or eating non-organic dairy products
Hydrogenated oils and trans fatty acids -
Mammography radiation -
Chemotherapy and radiation
Perfumes and fragrance products
Cosmetics and personal care products -
Home cleaning products, including laundry detergent, dryer sheets, etc.
Plastic food containers - includes plastic lining inside food cans
Sodium nitrite - found in most processed meats
Pesticides, PCBs, chlorine and other chemicals
Acrylamides (formed during high-heat food processing such as frying)
Watching television / lack of exercise
Severe emotional distress or relationship stress
Refined sugars / refined grains
Dry cleaning chemicals
Hair color chemicals
Nail polish remover

God is able, Stephanie
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Jun 20, 2007 01:40AM cp418 wrote:

Stephanie - Thank you for the list. I agree many are exploiting this horrible disease for profit including the pharmacuetical companies. Many times I'll read research articles regarding some vaccine or anti-cancer agent and they CANNOT find sponsorship by the big drug companies to pursue development. Only when big money in profits is involved will any progress be made.

Currently I'm sickened by the control the insurance companies have in denying authorization for preventative exams such as MRI. It makes me furious to hear and read about early detection and then be denied by insurance to have exams done. The best is the radiology services who are sub-contracted by the insurance companies and will not take direct paying patients! They complain in this country about people without healthcare insurance and then deny procedures to those of us with it or who offer to pay ourselves. Now that is an ugly system all about profit and certainly not about saving women's lives. End of vent. Joann
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Jun 23, 2007 11:16AM Jinx wrote:

I have often thought about radiation from mammo's. I have wondered why women over 60 yrs are the bulk of bc stats. Why? They have less estrogen.

I have wondered if it might be from 20 yrs (or more) of mammo's. If estrogen is a culprit why do menopausal women make up the bulk of bc stats???

I know a good number of women from 70 to 90+ that have never had one mammo and they so far have no bc. I'm not advocating skipping mammo's -- I still get them. But, I do find it worrisome now.
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Jun 26, 2007 09:43PM cp418 wrote:

Jinx - I'd be curious about the elder ladies you describe regarding their previous exposure to oral contraceptive, hormonal therapy, environmental, etc. I know some older women as well who never took these modern drugs and have no bc hx either. One of them does get regular mammograms.

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Jun 28, 2007 12:28AM Jinx wrote:

I was referring to members of my church. I don't know much about their personal environmental exposure. Nearly all of them were stay at home moms. Must be a good 75 to 100 women in that age group. And word gets around when anyone is ill. The next age group is 60's & 70's and they can fit in same category as the 80 & 90 yr olds - no mammo's.

I really doubt the 80 & 90 yr olds had hormonal thearpy. I would bet money on that. I have worked on projects with many of the 60 & 70 yr olds and to my knowledge only one took hormone therapy. I had always tried to discourage her from using it. Other women her age that were present agreed with me, so doubt they took it.

One woman, the one on hrt, finally gave it up after 15 yrs of use (news reports scared her). She turned 73 or 74 this year. She rushed to get her first mammo 2 1/2 yrs ago when I was dx with bc. Turned out ok.

Oral contraceptives? That I really doubt. But then that was never discussed in my presence. Women in their 80's & 90's really weren't into that type of birth control or the hrt's.

And 2 months ago, a woman in early 70's was dx with bc. She had never had a mammo. Her gyno found lump (pap smear visit). She took hrt for about 1 year when she was in early 50's. Environment -- She worked in a law firm so doubt anything toxic there.

My dx sent many women, but not all, in my church, scurring to get a first time mammo. Mostly the 60 & 70 yr olds.

One woman is 94 and never had a mammo or pap smear. No hrt -- no birth control pills - stay at home mom. Cooked her own meals from scratch, baked her own breads, grew all her veggies, had fruit trees, did canning, all that old time stuff. She is crippled from arthritis. She's sharp as a tact - willing to modernize her life -- has a computer! On the web!

Isn't it crazy. All these women - no mammo's - and because of age group its very doubtful they ever were on hrt or birth control. And no bc. It must be an inherited strong immune system.
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Jun 28, 2007 03:24AM cp418 wrote:

Hi Jinx
I guessed as much from their age that they never used the various HRT and oral contraceptives common today. Also you mentioned their life style of healthy eating regarding cooking from scratch and growing their own foods. These facts again make me think the younger women diagnosed with bc may have been exposed to more environmental factors such as HRT, OC and poor eating of fast foods, processed foods, hormones and pesticides in food products. Basically more contaminants living in the so called modern world. So I tend to think the reason these older women are healthy is due their life style and not because they did not have regular mammograms. This is why they have such a strong immune system. We have alot to learn by the example these ladies give us to take better care of ourselves by what we eat. Any way those are my rambling thoughts........ Joann
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Jun 28, 2007 07:04AM JerseyGemini wrote:

Hi --

I had to give a shout out to Stephanie about the pink stuff. My grandmother and mother died of breast cancer. I got it when I was 30 after doing everything right...mammos from when I was 23 and exams every six months. Then I found it under a centimeter with negative nodes and still did chemo and hormone therapy. Now I'm stage 4. So for me even the prevention stuff rings hollow. Might be selfish but I'd rather these companies just donate the money to something like the breast cancer research foundation which is the only charity I can find that only spends $$ on research. If pier one give 10% of profits to charity or even 10% of proceeds, that means they are keeping 90% of profits from a product that is only made b/c of breast cancer. It's just another item in their product line only without as high of a profit margin.

I do the ACS walk for breast cancer every year in memory of my mom but other than that, I'm sick of the pink. And I would love to go on every talk show in October to talk about those of us who aren't so lucky. I feel like the boogeyman.

And I refuse to beleive birth control, HRT, and don't forget all of the hormones in milk and meat don't have something to do with it. Along with the artificial sweeteners, tons of additives, chemicals, etc....our genes were not programmed for all of that junk. That said, i abused them all...unknowingly or lazily.

Whew....that felt good. I feel like I just did a huge exhale...haha.

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Jun 29, 2007 06:42AM AlaskaAngel wrote:

I don't think any of us question the need for research to find better answers. If going pink meant that unbiased research was a slam dunk I'd make everything possible pink.

A really good book with suggestions for revamping research is The Truth About the Drug Companies, by Marcia Angell, M.D.

Dx 12/3/2001, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC) Surgery 1/3/2002 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Chemotherapy 3/12/2002 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil) Radiation Therapy 9/10/2002 Breast Hormonal Therapy 11/15/2002 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jul 3, 2007 08:33AM cp418 wrote:

Tess - I agree with you completely. Hugs Joann

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Jul 10, 2007 12:14PM biondi wrote:

my mom,87 my two aunts, 90 and 94 years old, no momo, no pap, no drugs . the 90 year old goes canoeing walks 5 mi a day and is active in community." takes care of old people" she says. i think i would have followed in thier footsteps, had i not made the bad decision to take PREMPRO,6 years. ILC. STAGE 1, BILATERIAL MAST.

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Jul 11, 2007 02:24AM AlaskaAngel wrote:

The question about whether mammos increase the risk of breast cancer and recurrence is interesting. At any rate, here is a recent Seattle article about radiation to consider:

Radiation from health scans causes concern

Increasing use stirs cancer fears


(Editor's note: This story has been changed since it was first published. The previous version incorrectly stated that Magnetic Resonance Imaging uses radiation.)

Cheryl Smith's cancer went into remission after her mastectomy two years ago, but she travels from Port Angeles to Seattle annually so doctors at Virginia Mason Medical Center can scan her to check for a relapse.
Last month, she had her second CT scan, four years after she was diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer. She said the radiation exposure from the scan is hardly a major concern for her.
"I think about it once in a while," said Smith, 58, but she noted that people flying around the world regularly receive relatively high levels of natural radiation 40,000 feet closer to the sun.

But Smith's CT scan subjected her to nearly 300 times the radiation she would have received on a roundtrip, coast-to-coast flight, according to data from the American College of Radiology.

Americans are being exposed by scans to record amounts of ionizing radiation, the most energetic and potentially hazardous form of radiation. Some researchers are concerned not only that the procedures are being overused, but also that patients may have no idea how much radiation they are receiving. Some physicians are worried that increased radiation exposure could lead to higher cancer rates.

"A CT scan of the chest will give you about the same radiation dose to the breast tissue as 10 to 20 mammograms," said Dr. Fred Mettler Jr., professor emeritus of radiology at the University of New Mexico and representative to the United Nations for nuclear radiation effects.
"Most women don't have a clue," he said. "Most people would get up and leave if they knew that."

Mettler is the principal investigator for the National Council on Radiation Protection's report on sources and magnitude of radiation exposure in the United States. Funded by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency, the report is expected to be published early next year.

Most radiation exposure previously came from natural background radiation. While advances in radiology have radically transformed medical practice and allow pinpoint diagnostics and treatment, they also have meant that more people are getting more radiation.

Clinical imaging exams in the United States are largely responsible for the per capita dose of ionizing radiation increasing almost 600 percent from 1980 to 2006, concludes the new report.

Though CT scans make up only 12 percent of all medical radiation procedures, they deliver 46 percent of the total dose of radiation exposure in the United States, Mettler said.

The report found that the number of CT scans jumped from 3 million in 1980 to 62 million in 2006. Mettler called the increase "staggering." He said that amounts to about one CT scan a year for every five people in the United States.

No one is saying that CT scans should be eliminated. However, researchers such as Mettler believe the Food and Drug Administration should take a more active role, and that patients need to be better informed about radiation doses.

Despite their high radiation, diagnostic radiation machines are not regulated by the FDA. Only mammogram facilities must be periodically accredited by the American College of Radiology to qualify for Medicare funding.

Other countries do have regulations. The United Kingdom requires hospitals to carry out periodic dose audits to show that the mean radiation doses for the entire hospital do not exceed national reference levels.

"The Europeans are ahead of us in this area in measuring dose and making people more aware of what the risks are," said Dr. Brent Stewart, a professor of radiology at the University of Washington. "The American College of Radiation is taking a very progressive stance in implementing these ideas of dose consciousness. We need to do more to raise the consciousness of referring physicians."

The radiology department at Virginia Mason employs precautions when it comes to CT scans, checking if the patient has had a CT scan at another hospital within 24 hours and sometimes questioning the size of the requested scan. Radiology technologists also give women 70 and younger a breast shield that deflects a percentage of low-dose radiation known to linger in breast tissue.

"We generally don't use CT scans unless there is a life-threatening condition," said Giao Nguyen, an emergency room doctor at Virginia Mason.

"When you image a patient, you're trying to answer a question," said Dr. Marie Lee, a radiologist at Virginia Mason. "You want to be sure that the question you're asking can be answered by the radiation."

Lee compared the images produced by a CT scan as akin to looking at a detailed anatomy textbook, but cautioned that radiation in larger amounts can have complications that may lead to cancer.

Stewart said that the University of Washington Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center are trying to implement an electronic order entry system that would allow physicians access to radiology guidelines and show how frequently patients are receiving radiation.
Stewart offered patients some advice.

"The patient, as a good consumer, ought to know as much as possible and ask as many questions as they need to be satisfied," he said.

Like driving on the highway, he said, using medical radiation involves risk.
Radiologists are still studying the correlations between medical radiation and cancer rates. A 2004 study in The Lancet surveying data from 1991 to 1996 suggested that medical radiation accounts for only 1 percent of American cancer cases, but a May 2007 report from the American College of Radiation stated that most radiation-induced cancers can take 10 to 20 years to occur.

Stewart said there is still some debate about the carcinogenic effect of medical radiation.

"At this point, we don't know for certain whether small doses of radiation like chest X-rays are injurious to a person overall," Stewart said.

But Mettler wants more safety precautions in place. Radiation doses for the same procedure can vary in the hands of different practitioners by as much as a factor of 10, reports the FDA. He would like to see the FDA actively involved in pressuring manufacturers to use lower radiation doses that still produce good images.

"There's a huge amount of pressure to order these things, but people just don't know how much radiation there is," he said.


CT, or Computed Tomography, scans take a series of X-ray slices of an area of concern. A computer combines the slices to form a multidimensional view. Dyes, each highlighting separate soft tissues in the body, such as blood vessels or the colon, show up in shades of gray on the resulting CT image.

Carrie Richardson, a radiation technologist at Virginia Mason Medical Center, said the denser areas are grayer: "The overall density of a healthy organ should be all the same tone." If an organ appears to be different hues, physicians may order a biopsy.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging also captures images of patients using non-ionizing radio waves. But MRIs require more time than CT scans, provide less detail and cannot portray motion as well.
Dx 12/3/2001, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC) Surgery 1/3/2002 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Chemotherapy 3/12/2002 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil) Radiation Therapy 9/10/2002 Breast Hormonal Therapy 11/15/2002 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)

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