In the year 1962, Rachel Carson was not only another breast cancer statistic, but the woman whose writing skills and scientific acumen shocked the world upon publication of ‘Silent Spring’ in which her research findings of irreversible reproductive and genetic damage to aquatic-life forms resulting from the use of pesticides were presented in her signature narrative style. It is due to her ground-breaking contribution to our understanding of the ways in which manufactured chemicals can affect and alter the state of the environment and the life forms it sustains that we continue to honour Rachel Carson as the outstanding ‘citizen- scientist’ of the 20th century.
At the age of 56, after a lifetime of ‘joining up the dots’ between the natural world, the human species and the impact of chemicals on nature and ourselves, Rachel Carson died of breast cancer – and we can but wonder how much more campaigning impact she would have gone on to make, had she lived longer. She died just 2 years after the publication of her ground-breaking book Silent Spring.
It was good for the From Pink to Prevention team to meet face to face finally, in February, with senior staff at Breast Cancer Now to discuss our concerns about BCN’s Risk Booklet.
BCN’s priority areas are to do with medical research linked to lifestyle factors – factors they can identify and act upon with speed and while we fully appreciate their remit, we made it clear that we very much want BCN to start to – incrementally at least to begin with – make significant progress on the referenced inclusion of environmental and occupational risks for breast cancer in their booklet. This is relevant to both BCN’s target 42% of women for whom lifestyle risk is their priority to address, as well as the remaining 58% , for many of whom the reason for getting the disease remains unknown.
There has been a growing if not vague and disconnected awareness here of the presence of toxins in the environment but nothing either informative or educational forthcoming from key authorities like public health.
In my daily to-ing and fro-ing around medical sites, community centres and chemist shops I see in detail the vast range of health care and risk avoidance topics selected for public education – smoking, bike riders use of helmets, falls avoidance, balanced diet, alcohol and smoking risks to baby during pregnancy, recognition of stroke onset symptoms, promotion of cancer screening tests, eye care, relaxation therapies, ADHD in children, epilepsy management, diabetes, a noticeable increase in aged care and mental health categories plus numerous government and non -government sources of help for different addictions and conditions.
Embargo 10 am 1st October
16 international organisations and national groups have signed on to the statement prepared by From Pink to Prevention campaign, which calls on breast cancer charities everywhere to remove their pink ribbon blindfolds and ask why, despite all the money raised, more and more of us are getting this disease? The groups believe we are not getting the full picture on this breast cancer epidemic that has taken us from a 1 in 12 chance of a woman getting the disease in her lifetime in 1995, to a 1 in 8 chance today.
On October 1st, a social media action aims to urge breast cancer charities along with the people who raise funds for the cause each and every year to remove their pink ribbon blindfolds. This action draws attention to the Big Question: why do most breast cancer charities persist in refusing to acknowledge the role of environmental and occupational toxicants by ignoring decades of evidence up to the present day on the link between our lifelong (womb to grave) exposures to toxics and the escalating incidence of breast cancer?
In the forthcoming Breast Cancer Awareness Month we ask if you can remove the Pink Ribbon ‘Blindfold’ and ask this BIG QUESTION of the Breast Cancer Charities:
WHY do they persist in refusing to acknowledge the role of environmental and occupational toxicants by ignoring decades of evidence up to the present day on the link between our lifelong (womb to grave) exposures to toxics and the escalating incidence of breast cancer?