2013 Science in Society Journalism Awards

Congratulations to Christie Aschwanden, one of this year’s winners of the Science in Society Journalism Awards, sponsored by the National Association of Science Writers. Her piece, “The Real Scandal: Science Denialism at Susan G. Komen for the Cure” was posted on February 8, 2012, on the web site The Last Word on Nothing.

“It asserts that Susan G. Komen for the Cure — an organization advocating for breast cancer screening and research — ignored research on tumor biology to overemphasize screening. The judges called Aschwanden’s opinion article “persuasively argued, authoritative and highly informative.” In her commentary, Aschwanden took issue with the organization’s blame-the-victim tone and the false narrative that breast cancer is uniformly progressive and can only be treated if caught early. Such a position, wrote Aschwanden, ignores the perils of over-diagnosis and the potential for unnecessary and damaging treatments.”

When I first read Aschwanden’s piece I immediately asked to republish on my blog Pink Ribbon Blues as one of the finest essays I’ve read about the “false narrative” (i.e., the fairytale notion that breast cancer is a uniformly progressive disease that starts small and only grows and spreads if you don’t stop it in time), and its use in selling wholesale screening, along with accompanying lifestyle and product placements, to the masses. I couldn’t be more pleased that she has gotten sound recognition for this important work.

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