“Have breast cancer campaigns been beneficial?” by Al Jazeera, Washington, DC

The pink ribbon has become a globally recognised symbol of the fight against breast cancer. And once again, October was deemed a month of awareness for a disease that claims the lives of tens of thousands of women worldwide each year. There is little doubt that many with cancer have found strength in the knowledge that they are not alone, as a result of such campaigns. An estimated $6 billion is raised annually – yet survival rates for those diagnosed have not improved dramatically over the last 20 years. And some have questioned whether, rather than the race for a cure, it is those marketing pink-branded products from Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) to the National Football League (NFL) that are the main financial beneficiaries of awareness campaigns. The role of the Susan G. Komen foundation has come under particular scrutiny. he charity owns stock in pharmaceutical companies, and businesses like General Electric who make mammogram machines. Its sponsors include companies that produce products that have been linked to cancer. We ask if awareness campaigns are hindering much needed research on the causes and cure of the disease.

Interview features Breast Cancer Action’s Karuna Jaggar, Dr. Elaine Shattner MD, and Kim Patton of The Foundation Center

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