It wasn’t the subject matter which put me off, it was the singing. I’ve never liked musicals, not even supposed comedy ones, the songs always seem contrived, the melody sadly lacking in favour of the words which only serve to further the story or punch line. But I was pleasantly surprised by the catchy tunes by Tom Parkinson in a Pacifists Guide to the War on Cancer sung by the cast of Complicite and the beautiful voice of Naana Agyei-Ampadu. In fact some of them are still going around in my head. One refrain that particularly resonated was ‘my poor, poor’ body’ which evoked for me, the care we feel surge in ourselves when our body enters the ‘Kingdom of the Sick.’
This October, the US Navy and Israeli Air Force each took a pink fighter jet to the sky to join the fight against breast cancer. In the USA, the F9F-8 Cougar was painted a vibrant shade of pink called “Heliconia.” USS Lexington Director of Operations and Exhibits Rusty Reustle got the idea from a technique he saw during the filming of “Pearl Harbor.” The pink paint job is not permanent. A dishwashing liquid is added to the latex paint to make it removable.
These jets are weapons of war. This outrageous PR act serves only one end – to spin a weapon of war as a benign tool for public health and in neither country should this be allowed to stand.
On Monday 31st October, we had a very special evening to mark the final day of Breast Cancer Prevention Month with From Pink to Prevention’s evening dedicated to the writing of Barbara Brenner, hosted by UNISON. Barbara was the American activist who first described the commercialisation of breast cancer as ‘pink-washing’ and who, in her many years of campaigning, also spoke loudly about breast cancer as a disease with environmental and occupational risk factors which needed addressing urgently.
We’re delighted to see our October TOOLKIT poster has been translated into German and shared by colleagues in the USA and Canada. In Australia, we’re especially happy that our colleague Di Ward has been able to push the Toolkit out to a number of the key organisations in her home country with a very positive response from the Australian Women’s Health Network – a leading nationwide voice on such matters. In Scotland, our colleagues at Challenge Breast Cancer Scotland were recently at the Scottish TUC annual conference and found the resource an invaluable way in to explain to the general public just what our concerns are and we all need to be better informed on this issue.
Early Day Motions (EDMs) are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons. While very few are actually debated, EDMs allow MPs to draw attention to an event or cause. MPs register their support by signing individual motions. Our EDM calls upon the Government to act upon the urgent inclusion of environmental and occupational risk factors into all National Cancer Plans and strategies.
We would like to get as many MPs signing as possible, so please email your MP and ask them to support it! Our EDM can run until spring 2017.
As we find ourselves mid-way through the global fundraising phenomena that is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we ask ‘are environmental and occupational links to the disease an elephant in the room?’
From Pink to Prevention has produced an online ‘tool-kit’ to help the wider public understand the nature of the problem we are facing – both in terms of the links between environmental and occupational risk factors as well as the inaction of those with the power to address it. It includes an interactive webpage, PDF and poster which brings together some of the leading experts, writers and campaigners from across Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, UK), USA, Canada, Australia and the Philippines. Please share the toolkit!