In 1974, former First Lady Betty Ford announced publicly that she had undergone a mastectomy.
This helped to de-stigmatize and bring awareness to, a very private and painful issue that many women faced alone.
Since that announcement, billions of dollars have been raised in the name of “breast cancer awareness,” and to support breast cancer research—but seriously—are we really any more aware?
Before you get defensive, close your mind, and start backing away—a reaction I get every time someone asks why I don’t support marches and pink ribbons—just for a brief moment—please read with an open mind. First, ask yourself a few questions:
- Does the word cancer scare you?
- Before the breast cancer awareness movement, there were essentially three options for treatment; surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy—what other current cutting edge treatments are you aware of today?
- How many of your friends, relatives, loved ones, actually beat cancer after just one of any of the above treatments-–only to have it come back somewhere else? How many died?
- How does buying a pink bucket of fried chicken, or a pink beer pong table empower you to seek true research?
- Here’s my last and most important question—Where does the money you raise at any of the marches go? I am not talking about “it goes to the state march for life office.” Where does each of those dollars go and how does it help women get cutting edge treatment and the latest research? That is the purpose right?
No one has ever been able to trace the money for me, from the hard earned and fought battles on high school tracks all over America to the end of the money trail.
The first use of a pink ribbon in connection with breast cancer awareness was when the Susan G. Komen Foundation handed them out to participants in its New York City race for breast cancer survivors in 1991.
The following year, the pink ribbon was adopted as the official symbol of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Alexandra Penney, the editor in chief of Self magazine, and Evelyn Lauder, the senior corporate vice president of Estee Lauder Cosmetics Company, and a breast cancer survivor herself, created the ribbon for distribution to stores and businesses in New York City.
However, the first breast cancer ribbon was actually peach colored and created by a much lesser known 68-year-old woman named Charlotte Haley in 1990.
Charlotte was a breast cancer survivor along with four generations of her family that had also fought the disease.
Charlotte made the ribbons by hand at her own dining room table, and personally handed them out with a card attached that read,
“The National Cancer Institute’s annual budget is 1.8 billion US dollars, and only 5 percent goes to cancer prevention.
Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon.”
Charlotte distributed thousands of these cards and ribbons by hand and in addition, wrote to many prominent women (former First Ladies and Dear Abby) of that time to enlist their help to spread the word about breast cancer prevention.
In 1992, the year after the huge success of the pink ribbon giveaway,
Alexandra Penney and Evelyn Lauder approached Charlotte Haley to attempt to adapt her idea with theirs and work together.
Charlotte soundly rejected their offer and refused to be part of what she felt was a commercial effort.
Ribbons were big business—after all—The New York Times declared 1992, “The Year of The Ribbon”–so Lauder and Self Magazine were not to be dissuaded.
High-powered lawyers came up with answer: change the color of the ribbon.
They chose “150 pink”—one of their most popular colors.
In the fall of 1992, Estee Lauder collected over 200,000 pink ribbon petitions, urging the White House to push for increased funding for breast cancer research.
The peach ribbon and Charlotte Haley were history.
Meanwhile, another national movement was gaining ground. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was founded and initiated by a British chemical company called Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) in 1985.
This was in partnership with the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of ICI, Zeneca.
Imperial Chemical Industries manufactures and sells pesticides, plastics, and pharmaceuticals.
Its chemical plant in Ohio was identified in 1996 as the third largest source of cancer causing pollution in the United States.
The American subsidiary of ICI is AstraZeneca.
In 1997, after the acquisition of a chain of cancer treatment centers, Zeneca merged with a Swedish pharmaceutical company called Astra to form AstraZeneca; creating the world’s third largest pharmaceutical entity.
AstraZeneca manufactures one of the world’s top selling breast cancer drugs, Tamoxifen. In 1998, The National Cancer Institute hailed tamoxifen as “preventing” breast cancer when taken continuously (usually for a period of five years); despite the fact that known side effects were serious blood clots in the legs and lungs, and increased risk of cancer elsewhere, such as endometrial and uterine.
Additionally, in 2009, a study published in the Journal, Cancer Research, found that long term tamoxifen use increased the risk of an aggressive, difficult to treat estrogen receptor negative second cancer in the opposite breast.
The National Cancer Institute provided funding for the research.
Did they stop prescribing tamoxifen?
One of the only attempts at “prevention” was the promotion of yearly mammograms—with slogans like “Early detection is your best prevention.”
Unfortunately, by the time cancer shows up on a mammogram, it is far too late to “prevent” it.
Additionally—it has finally been acknowledged that radiation exposure from yearly routine mammography may actually cause more cases of breast cancer than it identifies in younger women.
Squeezing breasts between two metal plates has also been shown to damage delicate lymph tissue, causing it to rupture.
The National Cancer Institute reports that mammograms misidentify tumors some percentage of the time, resulting in additional invasive and unnecessary procedures, and causing needless anxiety.
Radiation—in the form of mammography or treatment seems counterintuitive to the prevention or elimination of cancer.
Why is it, that we are told to avoid and protect ourselves from harmful x-rays (dental for example) that could cause cancer, then turn around and treat cancer with the same harmful radiation?
Why do we allow our breasts to be squeezed between two metal plates that expose us to the equivalent of 40 chest x-rays and run the risk of rupturing a harmless cyst or tumor?
Two CT head scans are enough radiation to cause a genetic mutation, and the risk of soft tissue sarcoma doubles.
Radiation does not prevent or cure cancer.
Neither does chemically poisoning the body with chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy and radiation remove tumors.
Tumors are clusters of cancer cells.
Once destroyed, where do these cells go?
They go into the bloodstream to be eliminated.
Chemotherapy, radiation and even surgery do not treat the circulating cancer cells.
You must get rid of these cells in the blood to be truly free of cancer.
The way to eliminate these cells is with detoxification (pull out the poisons) and then to feed the body essential minerals and nutrients to build healthy red blood cells and bone marrow.
In order for you to be healed of cancer, it must be completely gone from both scans and your blood.
Western Medicine measures the amount of circulating tumor cells in your blood by a blood test for “cancer markers.”
A German doctor and cancer survivor, Dr. Ryke Geerd Hamer did an enormous amount of research about the emotional aspect of cancer.
His research is extremely scientific and undeniably proves that most cancers are related to an unresolved emotional conflict. Here are the breast cancer issues:
If you don’t first deal with the emotional work, you won’t heal.
The lesson is repeated until it is learned.
With breast cancer, the emotional issue is all about relationships, nurturing, mothering and nourishment.
Breasts represent nourishment.
At our mother’s breast we are given life.
At the deepest, cellular level, breast issues represent a refusal to nourish the self.
Did you lose your mother?
Do you feel that you put everyone else first?
Does your partner nourish your need to be loved—deeply, unconditionally—and even more importantly—do you feel that love? Is your partner faithful?
Women are intuitive.
They know. Women want to please—many times denying their own needs—the deepest of which, is to be wanted, appreciated, needed and loved.
Cutting off your breasts does not guarantee you will never get cancer.
If you remove part or all of a cancerous lung, yet continue to smoke; you have not removed the probable cause.
The best way to prevent any cancer is to make changes to your lifestyle—slowly, and with grace so these changes become good habits.
Genetics alone does not predispose you to a certain disease.
Epigenetics (the study of the way in which the expression of heritable traits is modified by environmental influences or other mechanisms without a change to the DNA sequence) is proving that lifestyle is a far more accurate indicator of cancer probability.
Many reproductive cancers are found during periods of great hormonal change—breast cancers found during pregnancy; ovarian and uterine cancers found at menopause.
In many cases, the use of artificial estrogens, taken for years—birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy, precede the diagnosis.
The human body cannot process chemical estrogens and stores them in estrogen receptive tissues like lymph and breast tissue.
If not eliminated, these cells form cysts and tumors.
Of course, the diagnosis of cancer at any time is a multi-faceted issue, and the best we can do is to share knowledge of successful treatments and empower each other.
There is no place for paralyzing fear, guilt, or self doubt that allows us to make decisions that appear to be our only choice in the present—with great consequence in the future.
Epigenetics is proving that living holistically—with conscious lifestyle and food choice; conscious affirmations, thoughts and beliefs; detox from artificial steroidal hormones; thermography instead of mammograms; deep breathing; a little sunshine and exercise; and most of all—love for your self and everyone—has a greater effect on our health and longevity than our genetics.
The best research is that which is done with your own eyes, ears, intuition, and open mind.
Find your truth, not my truth expressed here, but your truth.
Do your own research.
My hope is to educate, empower, and inspire you to push past paralyzing fear—to enable you to make decisions from a place of love.
Here are two very moving, poignant examples of real women and the truth about early detection and breast cancer.
The Scar Project by photographer David Jay is a beautiful and moving series of large scale portraits of young breast cancer survivors (ages 18-35) from all over the world. “The SCAR Project is an exercise in awareness, hope, reflection, and healing. The mission is three-fold: raise public consciousness of early-onset breast cancer, raise funds for breast cancer research/outreach programs and help young survivors see their scars, faces, figures and experiences through a new, honest and ultimately empowering lens.”