It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month again and from shore to shore the country is awash in a sea of pink – from pink ribbons and donation boxes to pink products, charity promotions, celebrities by the score and even pink cleats on NFL players.
Tragically, most people are unaware of the dark history of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) and of 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.
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 although 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; it 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 is classified by the EPA as a "probable human carcinogen", and AstraZeneca sold it 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. Last month, Natural News reported a study just published in Cancer Research which concluded that long-term use of tamoxifen 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. 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. And while biotech giant Monsanto sponsors Breast Cancer Awareness Month’s high profile event, the Race for the Cure, it continues to profit from the production of many known carcinogens.
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."
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" which does not include 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. Once again, they have common links of promoting early detection, primarily through mammograms, and of remaining mostly silent about toxins and other environmental factors.
In part two of this series we will take a look at the some of the other foundations and charities that have become involved in Breast Cancer Awareness, including The American Cancer Society – "the world`s wealthiest non-profit organization".
Other sources for this series included:
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