October 03, 2014
by Tony Isaacs
(The Best Years in Life) Every year October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we find the country awash in a sea of pink from shore to shore – from pink ribbons and donation boxes to pink products, charity promotions, celebrities by the score and even pink cleats on NFL players. Tragically, few people are aware of the dark history of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) and the players past and present who have misused it to direct people and funds away from finding a true cure while covering up their own roles in causing and profiting from cancer.
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The Founding of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Most people are unaware that the BCAM idea was conceived and paid for by the British chemical company Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), a company that both profited from the ever-growing cancer epidemic and contributed to its causes. The American subsidiary of Imperial Chemical Industries, ICI/Astra-Zeneca manufactures tamoxifen, the world’s top-selling cancer drug used for breast cancer. ICI itself is in the business of manufacturing and selling synthetic chemicals and is one of the world’s largest producers and users of chlorine.
Although BCAM was co-founded along with two non-profit organizations and some big name companies were quick to associate with BCAM, for the first several years, BCAM’s bills were paid by ICI’s Zeneca Pharmaceuticals.
As the controlling sponsor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), Zeneca was able to approve—or veto—any promotional or informational materials, posters, advertisements, etc. that BCAM uses. The focus is strictly limited to information regarding early detection and treatment, avoiding the topic of prevention and the role toxins may play. A further look at the major players in breast cancer awareness may give plenty of insight as to why a growing number of critics are asking why such is the case.
Take Zeneca for example, which later merged into Astra-Zeneca and in 2008, ICI/Astra-Zeneca changed its name to AzkoNobel and reported annual sales of over 22 Billion Dollars. ICI has long been among the world’s largest manufacturers of pesticides, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. Its Perry, Ohio, chemical plant was once identified as the third-largest source of potential cancer-causing pollution in the United States, releasing 53,000 pounds of recognized carcinogens into the air in 1996.
After Zeneca acquired the Salick chain of cancer treatment centers in 1997 and then merged with the Swedish pharmaceutical company Astra to form AstraZeneca, creating the world’s third-largest drug concern, Dr. Samuel Epstein, a professor of occupational and environmental medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health stated, “This is a conflict of interest unparalleled in the history of American medicine.”
“You’ve got a company that’s a spinoff of one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of carcinogenic chemicals, they’ve got control of breast cancer treatment, they’ve got control of the chemoprevention [studies], and now they have control of cancer treatment in eleven centers-which are clearly going to be prescribing the drugs they manufacture.”
The breakdown of $14 Billion in profits for ICI in 1997 was 49 percent from pesticides and other industrial chemicals, another 49 percent from pharmaceutical sales, and the remaining 2 percent from health care services including 11 cancer treatment centers. Zeneca’s herbicide acetochlor, which is classified by the EPA as a “probable human carcinogen”, and which AstraZeneca sold until a corporate reorganization in 2000, accounted for around $300 million in sales in 1997. Their product tamoxifen citrate (Nolvadex) accounted for $500 million in 1997 sales. Cancer prevention would clearly conflict with Zeneca’s business plan.
Quickly jumping onboard the tamoxifen bandwagon was the National Cancer Institute, which announced in April 1998 that breast cancer could be ‘prevented’ by treating women continuously with a powerful drug called tamoxifen. The New York Times editorialized on April 8th that treating women with tamoxifen is a ‘breast cancer breakthrough.’ However, The Times acknowledged that treating 1,000 women with tamoxifen for five years would prevent 17 breast cancers but would cause an additional 12 cases of endometrial cancer and 20 cases of serious blood clots in the same 1,000 women.
As recent studies have shown, the risks implied in those less-than breakthrough figures were vastly understated. For example, as Natural News reported in 2009, a study published in Cancer Research concluded that long-term use of tamoxifen actually increases the risk of getting aggressive cancer in the other breast by 440 percent.
Other large corporations which contribute to breast cancer awareness also have a vested interest in breast cancer. In many instances, these not only profit from cancer, they also sell products which cause cancer. Thus, at the same time that they promote their products they also help direct research and treatments away from their toxic and cancer causing products.
General Electric sells upwards of $100 million annually in mammography machines. General Electric has also been a major polluter of carcinogenic PCBs in the Hudson River. An estimated million pounds of PCBs lie buried at the bottom of a 40-mile stretch of the Hudson, where GE dumped PCB oil until the mid-1970s, contaminating the entire 200-mile length of the river below Hudson Falls.
DuPont, another huge chemical company and major polluter, supplies much of the film used in mammography machines. Both DuPont and GE aggressively promote mammography screening of women in their 40s, despite the risk of its contributing to breast cancer in that age group.
Biotech giant Monsanto is a major sponsor Breast Cancer Awareness Month’s high profile event, the Race for the Cure. At the same time, Monsanto reaps huge profits from products which cause breast and other cancers. Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone, rBGH, is widely used to to increase milk production in cows and milk with rBGH contains up to 10 times the naturally occurring growth hormone Insulin-like Growth Factor I (IGF-1). Studies have shown that women with elevated levels of IGF-1 are 7 times more likely to develop pre-menopausal breast cancer and the hormone has been identified as one of the leading risk factors for breast cancer as well as colon and prostate cancer.
A study published in the October, 2012 edition of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology provided unprecedented evidence of the cancer causing dangers of the combination of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn and Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, which the corn was modified to withstand. Female rats fed GMO corn treated with Roundup developed large mammary tumors more often than and before controls and died 2 – 3 times faster than control groups. The pituitary was the second most disabled organ. Treated male rats developed 4 times more large tumors than controls and the tumor development occurred up to 600 days earlier, primarily in the livers and kidneys.
Another large player is Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), with their Tour of Hope and promotions such as 10 cent donations for drug store sales of selected BMS products. BMS is also the manufacturer of Taxol (under the trade name of Paclitaxel), considered to be “the gold standard” of chemo drugs. As Natural News reported earlier this month, the so-called “gold standard” has more than lost its luster, as was presented at 27th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium:
“German investigators from Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena, have shown that taxol (the “gold standard of chemo”) causes a massive release of cells into circulation.
“Such a release of cancer cells would result in extensive metastasis months or even years later, long after the chemo would be suspected as the cause of the spread of the cancer. This little known horror of conventional cancer treatment needs to be spread far and wide, but it is not even listed in the side effects of taxol.”
Nowhere is the hypocrisy of the Breast Cancer Awareness Movement more evident than in the actions of “do good” cosmetic and body care companies, including such industry powerhouses as Estée Lauder, Avon, Revlon, and Mary Kay. Annually, they market pink-ribboned packaged cosmetics and body care products as well as contribute funds which help continue the cover-up up and misdirection of breast cancer research, treatment and prevention. Many of the same products they push as part of their campaign contribute to breast and other cancer.
Hormone-mimicking chemicals such as parabens and phthalates have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer and have a broad range of birth defects. A study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology in 2012 detected paraben esters in 99 percent of breast cancer tissues sampled.
The list of corporate donors and players in Breast Cancer Awareness goes on and on, including other chemical and pharmaceutical companies, cosmetic companies, fast food restaurants, donut and cookie makers, and many more. They all share the common traits of promoting “awareness” while excluding the role their own products play, and promoting early screening through mammograms. Likewise, other charities and foundations – and their sponsors – have joined the pink bandwagon, and once again, they have common links of promoting early detection, primarily through mammograms, and remaining mostly silent about toxins and other environmental factors.
The Foundations and Charities
A pink giant among breast cancer foundations is the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, famous for their annual Race for the Cure®, and which has a huge list of corporate sponsors, including such notables as General Mills and Mars Snackfoods among their Million Dollar Elite club. The Komen Foundation has a lengthy list of risk factors, yet does not list exposure to toxins among them;
As noted in the 2003 article “Compromised”: “Participants in the Race for the Cure are often greeted as they cross the finish line with live music, inspirational speakers and acres of colorfully adorned corporate booths. Pink, the chosen color of the international breast cancer movement, is everywhere, on hats, T-shirts, teddy bears and ribbons. A sense of community and camaraderie pervades the celebration by thousands of breast cancer survivors and friends of survivors.”
“What’s missing is the truth,” says Judy Brady of the Toxic Links Coalition in San Francisco. She wants to see a cure for breast cancer as much as anyone, but she and her group, along with several other activist breast cancer groups, have something to point out about the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s activities: “There’s no talk about prevention except, in terms of lifestyle, your diet for instance. No talk about ways to grow food more safely. No talk about how to curb industrial carcinogens. No talk about contaminated water.”
Though giving some lip service to the “debate over mammograms”, the Komen Foundation nevertheless promotes mammograms as an important screening tool and recommends that women get regular mammograms starting at age 40, stating that “despite some ongoing debate, mammography is still the best screening tool widely used today for the early detection of breast cancer.”
The Komen Foundation owns stock in General Electric, one of the largest makers of mammogram machines in the world. It also reportedly owns stock in several pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca (now AzkoNobel).
AstraZeneca has long been a Komen booster, making educational grants to Komen and having a visible presence at the Race For the Cure. At the 1998 Food and Drug Administration hearings, the Komen Foundation was the only national breast cancer group to endorse the AstraZeneca cancer treatment drug tamoxifen as a prevention device for healthy but high-risk women, despite vehement opposition by most other breast cancer groups because of its links to uterine cancer.
Another prominent breast cancer organization is The National Breast Cancer Foundation, whose stated mission is “to save lives by increasing awareness of breast cancer through education and by providing mammograms for those in need.” Their National Mammography Program includes the “Donate a Free Mammogram Program”. Their education includes nothing about the toxins and environmental causes of cancer.
Similarly, the Prevent Cancer Foundation, gives advice on how to prevent and detect cancer, but fails to include toxins and environmental factors and is yet another foundation which heavily promotes mammograms. Currently, they are promoting their “Pledge to Screen Your Boobs & Enter to Win a Pink Vespa™” program, seeking donations and stating that “early detection and screening can help to stop breast cancer before it strikes”.
In other words, according to the various foundations and organizations which advocate screening and mammograms, the way to “stop cancer before it strikes” is to detect it after it has already struck.
The following report from a woman who used natural therapies to beat a cancer mainstream doctors had said was terminal typifies how foundations such Susan G. Komen and others entrenched in the cancer industry look upon anything outside the mainstream paradigm:
“I was shocked an appalled when I tried to contact every single person of importance at Susan G. foundation. I had completed my traditional therapies, my stage IV metastatic disease was said to be terminal and yet here I am! No Evidence of Disease!
“I was euphoric and feel like God personally guided me through this process. Immediately I faxed, called, emailed dozens of people at Susan G. Komen foundation to let them know they can stop running.
“The only contacts I received were when they wanted me to give them money, ‘To help find a cure.’ Haha!
“I was shocked, betrayed, appalled and sickened that no one in the research department would call me back,…I got their fax and faxed off a release of information and also my scans,….proof! Still,…no call back.
“The advocacy group I used stated that all foundations were like this.
“They don’t really want to find a cure, they want to keep searching and doing experiments so that they can keep their jobs.
“I beat my disease, (i didn’t say cured) and no one cared,…not a one. No media, no doctor, no foundation gave (me) the time of day.”
The American Cancer Society – The World’s Most Profitable Non-Profit
If the Komen Foundation is a giant among breast cancer charities, the true 800 pound gorilla in all of the cancer non-profit organizations is the highly profitable American Cancer Society (ACS).
As reported in “American Cancer Society: The World’s Wealthiest ‘Non-profit’ Institution” in the International Journal of Health Services, the ACS “is fixated on damage control – screening, diagnosis and treatment, – and genetic research, with indifference or even hostility to cancer prevention. Together with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the ACS has failed to provide Congress, regulatory agencies and the public with the strong body of scientific evidence clearly relating the escalating incidence of non-smoking related cancers to involuntary and avoidable exposures to industrial carcinogens in air, water, the workplace, and consumer products – – food, cosmetics and toiletries – – so that appropriate corrective and legislative regulatory and action has not been taken.”
Like the other foundations mentioned earlier, the ACS has myriad ties to industries which profit from and contribute to cancer. One such relationship is the one they have maintained with AstraZeneca. Together with the NCI, in 1992 the ACS launched am aggressive “chemoprevention” program aimed at recruiting 16,000 healthy women who were supposedly at “high risk” of breast cancer into a 5-year clinical trial of Zeneca’s tamoxifen. The women were told that the drug was essentially harmless, and that it could reduce their risk of breast cancer. What the women were not told was that tamoxifen was well-known to induce aggressive human uterine cancer or that it has previously been shown to be a highly potent liver carcinogen in rodent tests.
Other ties include board members tied to such companies as Glaxo-SmithKline Smith, Glaxo Welcome, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Block Drug Company, Reliant Pharmaceuticals, OSI Pharmaceuticals, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Various Lobbying Firms, Venture Capitalists, Sherwin-Williams Company and many others.
To get a better picture of some of the interlocking relationships between ACS board members and the corporations and institutions they are connected with, see:
Among a great many questionable actions by the ACS that have been interpreted to be favorable to such institutions and industries in the past are:
* The ACS opposed proposed regulations in 1977-78 for hair coloring products that contained dyes suspected of causing breast cancer. In so doing, the ACS ignored the fact that these chemicals were proven liver and breast carcinogens.
* In 1982, the ACS adopted a highly restrictive cancer policy that insisted on unequivocal human evidence of carcinogenicity before taking any position on public health hazards. Accordingly, the ACS still trivializes or rejects evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals, and has actively campaigned against laws that ban deliberate addition to food of any amount of any additive shown to cause cancer in either animals or humans.
* In 1992, the ACS issued a joint statement with the Chlorine Institute in support of the continued global use of organochlorine pesticides despite clear evidence that some such pesticides were known to cause breast cancer. In the joint statement, ACS Vice President Clark Heath, M.D., dismissed evidence of the risks as “preliminary and mostly based on weak and indirect association.”
* In September 1996, the ACS together with a diverse group of patient and physician organizations, filed a “citizen’s petition” to pressure FDA to ease restrictions on access to silicone gel breast implants. What the ACS did not disclose was that the gel in these implants had clearly been shown to induce cancer in several industry rodent studies, and that these implants were also contaminated with other potent carcinogens such as ethylene oxide and crystalline silica.
The ACS is called “the worlds wealthiest non-profit” for good reason. Despite annually pleading poverty and huge fundraising efforts across the nation, at the end of 2008, the combined ACS financial statements reflected net assets of over $1.5 Billion.
A 1992 article in the Wall Street Journal by Thomas DiLorenzo, professor of economics at Loyola College and veteran investigator of nonprofit organizations, revealed that the Texas affiliate of the ACS owned more than $11 million worth of assets in land and real estate, as well as more than fifty-six vehicles, including eleven Ford Crown Victorias for senior executives and forty-five other cars assigned to staff members. Arizona’s ACS chapter spent less than 10 percent of its funds on direct community cancer services. In California, the figure was 11 percent, and under 9 percent in Missouri.
Thus for every $1 spent on direct service in 1992, approximately $6.40 was spent on compensation and overhead. In all ten states, salaries and fringe benefits are by far the largest single budget items, a surprising fact in light of the characterization of the appeals, which stress an urgent and critical need for donations to provide cancer services. Nationally, only 16 percent or less of all money the ACS raised was spent on direct services to cancer victims, like driving cancer patients from the hospital after chemotherapy, and providing pain medication.
In the intervening years, the ACS has reported spending a larger percentage of the money it raises on program services, with 26% going to direct services and another 47% being spent on research, prevention and detection/treatment services. Unfortunately, the research funds are directed almost entirely to the same surgery, chemo and radiation therapies that have failed to win the war on cancer for almost four decades now. Likewise, prevention and detection/treatment services overlook toxins and environmental causes and promote more screening and mammograms.
It is a tried and failed program of the same forms of prevention, treatment and research that has benefited those who profit from continuing the largely failed war on cancer while obscuring and protecting the roles of those who have caused it.
Mammograms and the Dangers of Radiation
A study by researchers from the University of Nebraska and the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Ill cast fresh doubt on the widespread assumption that regular mammograms save lives, showing that 2,970 women must be screened for breast cancer in order to prevent even one death.
“For a woman in the screening subset of mammography-detectable cancers, there is a less than 5 percent chance that a mammogram will save her life,” wrote the researchers.
In 2001, a study known as the Cochrane analysis found that if 2,000 women underwent regular screening for 10 years, one life would be saved but another 10 women would undergo unnecessary treatment such as surgery or radiation. Noting that it was difficult to determine which cancers would have led to death or even symptoms in the absence of treatment, the researchers concluded that it is “not clear whether screening does more harm than good.”
Few will debate the value of early screening and detection, but what most doctors will not tell you, and many are unaware of, is that there is a much safer and more effective tool for early screening: thermography. As was reported in Natural News last December, a breast thermogram has the ability to identify a breast abnormality five to ten years before the problem can be found on a mammogram. Furthermore, a thermogram does not use radiation, and can be done as frequently as anyone thinks is necessary. Thermograms work by creating infra-red images (heat pictures) that are then analyzed to find asymmetries anywhere in the chest and underarm area. Breast thermography detects patterns of heat generated by the increased circulation produced by abnormal metabolic activity in cancer cells. This activity occurs long before a cancer starts to invade new tissue.
Mastectomies – Prevention or Unnecessary Mutilation?