Breast cancer, Breast Cancer Action, Breast cancer research, Family, Health, Healthy choices, Inspiration

Don’t Pink for Me: “Poison Isn’t Pretty”

Breast Cancer Action campaign
Breast Cancer Action campaign

Every October, the autumn leaves turn golden, the sycamores lose their leaves, and the color PINK is everywhere.

After 30 years of breast cancer “awareness,” have we found a cure? No.

What we have found are three thousand more PINK products, many of which contain carcinogens found to negatively influence cancer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for surviving breast cancer. I’m indebted to those who have contributed time and money to BC research. I proudly wore “pink” for the first two years, like some lucky talisman to help me in my travels down the pit of despair.

What gets to me is the commercialization and big corporations making a buck or ten off pink buckets of chicken, yogurt, and toilet paper.

And it sure as hell doesn’t impress me when the NFL cheerleaders dress in pink shorts and rattle pink pom-poms. (According to Business Insider, only 8% of the money from NFL pink merchandise goes to the American Cancer Society).

Now look at this 2015 news:

Recently, some of our members living with breast cancer asked us to look into the cosmetics used in a program for cancer patients called Look Good, Feel Better®.

Look Good, Feel Better is run by the Personal Care Products Council, the largest national trade group for the cosmetics industry, and the American Cancer Society, the nation’s largest cancer charity. They hold free workshops that give beauty tips and complimentary makeup kits to women in cancer treatment—support that some women understandably value while facing a cancer diagnosis.

Look Good, Feel Better bagThe downside? Many of the products offered to women in Look Good, Feel Better kits contain chemicals linked to increased cancer risk, including parabens, Teflon, and formaldehyde releasers.

As if that’s not bad enough, some of the chemicals in Look Good, Feel Better products may actually interfere with breast cancer treatment. For example, methylparaben has been found to both increase breast cancer risk by mimicking the hormone estrogen and interfere with the common cancer drug Tamoxifen.

Since my diagnosis, I’ve tried really hard to keep free of toxins in my food, hygiene, and cleaning products. Shouldn’t a corporation seeking to help survivors do the same?

Where does it go? Some of it goes to the American Cancer Society or other breast cancer organizations. These corporations make big money off pink products. Like the donations from the NFL, these organizations may receive less than 10% of your purchase.

According to Charity Navigator,

…only 71.2 percent of money the ACS receives goes towards its programs. Last time I checked, the program expenses number now sits at 60.6 percent.

Compare this to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation which, according to Charity Navigator, spends 91.9 percent of its funds towards program expenses and its services.

Corporations that want to help can give money to research and provide services for underserved communities and community health clinics.

Charity Navigator gives this advice:

So, how do you evaluate which cause-related marketing efforts are worth purchasing? Start by asking these questions: click this link.

Cause Marketing
Cause Marketing

If you’d like to help fund research, look for those organizations with a mission to do research or focus on the root causes of the disease, like Dr. Susan Love’s Research Foundation or Breast Cancer Action

While you’re at it, sign a petition or two to encourage legislation that will help those with breast cancer, and please use as few toxic chemicals as possible.

So now that I’m done, for the year, with this issue, I’d like to thank my friends and relatives who were there for me when I had breast cancer:

A listening ear, a hug, ice cream, a book, a joke, a phone call, and a pretty card meant the world to me and kept me going. I’ll never forget your kindness.

Source: Tell These Pinkwashers: “Poison Isn’t Pretty”

Healthy choices, RAINN, RAINN fundraiser, Safety Tips, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Violence, Spring Break, Wisdom

10 Steps to a Safer Spring Break

Spring break is over for some colleges but is just beginning for several others. It’s a time,(and I have to go way back in my memory) when you can chuck the books relax, stay out late, and sleep in without feeling guilty for missing a class.

Whether you go out to one club or ten in a week of partying there is still a part of you that you don’t want to chuck-your safety. 

Seven of these tips are from RAINN and three are from my own experience-which I’ve handed down to my teenagers.

  1. Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe in any situation, go with your gut. If you feel uncomfortable or something doesn’t feel right, leave and get to a safe place immediately. If someone is pressuring you, it’s better to lie and make up a reason to leave than to stay and be uncomfortable, scared, or worse.
  2. Be wary of the “You Only Live Once” mentality. Being spontaneous and adventurous goes hand-in-hand with spring break. However, being too carefree can lead to dangerous situations. Don’t leave your normal logic at home just because you’re in a foreign place.
  3. Don’t let your guard down. A spring break destination can create a false sense of security among vacationers. Don’t assume that fellow spring breakers will look out for your best interests; remember they are essentially strangers.
  4. Protect your location on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. If someone you don’t know or trust asks you to go somewhere alone, let him or her know that you would rather stay with the group. Use any excuse you can think of to get out of a difficult situation.
  5. Get local. Know your accommodation address and the safest routes to and from your local destinations. Before leaving a hotel, ask the concierge for a business card with the hotel address or write the address down if you are staying at a rental property. Have the number for local cab companies and always keep enough cash on you to take a taxi home. Know who to contact in the event of an emergency, such as 911 or local authorities. If traveling internationally, have the contact information for the U.S. Embassy with you.
  6. Be a good friend—stick together & have a plan. Check out your surroundings before you go out and learn a well-lit route back to your hotel or rental property. Have a plan A and B.
  7. Use your cell phone as a tool If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, shoot a quick text for a “friend-assist.” Make a back-up plan before you go out just in case your phone dies. If you are traveling internationally, buy a pay-as-you-go phone or contact your cell phone provider to activate international coverage during your trip.
  8. Drink responsibly and know your limits. For every alcoholic drink, drink an equal amount of club soda, water, iced tea. Don’t be that girl that stumbles into the bathroom barfing all over the place.
  9. Shield your drinks. Keep your drink close, don’t leave it on the table. It only takes seconds to drug your drink. Likewise don’t accept drinks from strangers.
  10. Check out the club before you go there. Do they have a reputation for drugs, fights or shootings? If so, find somewhere else to go.
In the event of a sexual assault during spring break, seek immediate medical attention. In the U.S., call 911 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE) for advice and support. If you are traveling internationally contact the State Department or the American Embassy in country, to be connected with special services for American victims of crime abroad. You can also register your international trip with the U.S. State Department, to be notified of safety status changes.

I’ve pledged a personal 30 day campaign to raise funds for RAINN. It’s not a whole lot, but it’s an effort to support victims and be part of the change to make lives better. I invite you “…to be the change you wish to see in this world.”-Gandhi

On my Facebook page I’ll have status updates, until April 19, 2013, on this fundraising effort. I’m also giving away one of the Hope, Strength, or Courage bracelets.* 

Contributions are tax deductible, safe on a secure website, and you will receive a receipt from RAINN.

Have a wonderful weekend.

*details are posted on my FB page about the giveaway.