Skip to comments.The Dark Side of 'Thinking Pink'
Posted on 10/08/2011 3:52:52 PM PDT by NYer
Every October, sure as the leaves fall from the trees, pink ribbons and products blossom virtually everywhere you go. Breast Cancer Awareness Month has all the hallmarks of an effective public health campaign; people going about their regular routines cant help but notice all the pink and — especially while shopping — be encouraged to contribute to the cause. During a friendly gathering last year, an acquaintance of mine wondered aloud why football players on the TV in the background were wearing pink on their uniforms. The answer soon came. Awareness had been raised. Everyone in the room voiced approval; who wouldnt want to turn the tide on breast cancer?
The NFLs highly visible slogan — a crucial catch — reminds women that catching warning signs, through regular mammograms and self-exams, is the name of the game. This comes right out of the Public Health playbook, which unfortunately has not been terribly effective. These familiar measures (along with diet and exercise) have done some good, yet breast cancer mortality has only dipped slightly since the campaign began more than 25 years ago. And while screening can help save lives, it also subjects five to 15 times as many women to intense treatments or surgeries that turn out to be unnecessary — since many tumors are treated as though they were aggressively malignant even if they are later discovered to be benign.
The pink awareness campaign is packaged, quite profitably, as an expression of genuine concern about womens health. So surely it is reasonable to expect that such concern be matched by an accurate presentation of all the known risk factors, and by an insistence upon the very best corresponding prevention recommendations, right? After all, early detection measures such as screening are not nearly the same thing as solid prevention.
Indefensibly, however, most awareness efforts fail to feature some factors known to reduce breast cancer risk: having children, avoiding induced abortions, and refraining from oral contraceptives (OC). True, there is no guaranteed way for anyone to dodge or develop breast cancer, but that does not mean there are not risk factors. Women today are delaying childbirth as never before, and having fewer children. Younger women are using OC for longer periods of time. And well over a fifth of all pregnancies in America end in abortion — hardly the rarity its safe, legal and rare advocates say it should be. If you suspect that these reproductive risk factors might have something to do with the 40 percent increase in the incidence of breast cancer over the last 30 years, you have spotted the elephant in the room.
Public health authorities, however, dare not cross the cultural Rubicon with an army of politically incorrect facts — even in the name of womens health. Not even concern about breast cancer, it turns out, stands in the way of unbridled allegiance to absolute individual freedom, particularly in the arena of sexuality, which so characterizes todays culture. In saner times, the imperative to recommend what is truly best for womens health would prevail.
No one would counsel a woman to have a child, say, by her early 20s for the sole purpose of reducing breast cancer risk. But, simply put, a woman can do nothing more protective than having several children, beginning at an early age, and breastfeeding them all. Women who never give birth (including nuns) are at higher risk; having a first child later in life (over age 30) also heightens susceptibility.
The steroids taken by more than 100 million women around the world to prevent pregnancy — oral contraceptives — are known human carcinogens, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. In 2006, the Mayo Clinic concluded that a woman who takes OC before her first full-term pregnancy stands a 44 percent greater chance of contracting breast cancer prior to menopause, compared with those who dont take OC before giving birth. Using OC for four of more years prior to first full-term pregnancy is even more risky.
Yet how many young women are informed — in that obligatory Health 101 class, by their doctors, or through the pink media blitz — that the pill is a steroid (yes, think Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds), much less that it increases a womans likelihood of developing breast cancer?
Induced abortion is also a major risk factor. A recent (2007) multi-country study found that having had an abortion was the greatest predictor of subsequent breast cancer. Going back decades, study after study (with only a few exceptions) has demonstrated the connection; a methodologically sound review of the available evidence determined that it raises the risk of breast cancer by approximately 30 percent. (See this exhaustive summary.) Electing to have an abortion before ones first full-term pregnancy is even riskier.
I wonder how many of the more than one million women in America who annually choose abortion would reconsider if these risks were common knowledge? There is precedent; millions of post-menopausal women ceased taking Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) once they were apprised of its risks, and as a result the breast cancer rate among that cohort dropped within a few short years.
Remarkably, the preponderance of evidence has not stopped the once trustworthy Lancet, or the National Cancer Institute (NCI) from flatly denying the connection. Abortion, they seek to assure us, is nothing any woman concerned about breast cancer need worry about. But nature does not cooperate so willingly with the wishes of man, and never cooperates with the conclusions of shoddy science. The Lancet published a rigged but much heralded meta-analysis claiming no link in 2004 which was so replete with serious methodological errors (inexplicable omissions of very important and contradictory findings from valid studies, and the inclusion of scientifically invalid studies among other serious flaws) that it suggested a desire to conceal rather than reveal the truth. Indeed, that studys lead author, Oxfords Valerie Beral, proved downright Shakespearean in her role as the lady who doth protest too much the evidence of a connection. Indeed, most denials of the link in the literature are based on shoddy studies.
When leaders of the healing profession resemble tobacco executives of decades past in turning a blind eye to a clear risk factor for cancer, lawsuits cant be far behind.
In the meantime, many people might wonder in exasperation what to believe, perhaps thinking that everyone just brings a preconceived bias to the issue. But principled opponents of abortion object to the practice on moral grounds — even if it involved no cancer-related consequences whatsoever. It falls squarely upon the shoulders of science — our medical and public health authorities — to soberly inform us, as best they can at any given time, of the known health-related risks, or lack thereof, associated with this or any other practice. Such questions require real evidence — not appeals to the authority of The Lancet or the NCI, although the lay reader should be able to have confidence in the pronouncements of scientific institutions with widespread name recognition.
Wouldnt reason dictate that public health authorities recommend a measure of caution if there was only a reasonable suspicion that these factors might raise the risk? That possibility alone may well persuade some women to consider alternatives. The desperation to deny or downplay evidence of the connection between abortion and breast cancer speaks volumes; conceding the linkage would threaten the status quo and the laissez-faire set of utilitarian ethics deeply embedded within our culture and enshrined into our laws.
Further consider that no one denies the protective effect of childbirth — so is it really that far-fetched to suppose that aggressively truncating or pre-empting that same naturally protective process could have negative repercussions? Indeed, nulliparity, abortion and contraception as risk factors have an essential ingredient of any solid epidemiological theory: biological plausibility.
The linchpin uniting the reproductive risk factors is their relationship to the hormone estrogen. Overexposure to estrogen is carcinogenic — which is one reason why oral contraceptives and Hormone Replacement Therapy leads to more breast cancer. And in the early phases of pregnancy, a woman is exposed to massive amounts of estrogen, which triggers a proliferation of the types of breast lobules (Type 1 and 2) most susceptible to cancer. It is only in the weeks prior to birth that other hormones begin to help transform those vulnerable lobules into (Type 3 and 4) cancer-resistant lobules. A woman who terminates her pregnancy thus experiences a dangerous spike in estrogen without acquiring the protective tissues that emerge only by bringing a child to term.
Most pink campaigns avoid any hint of these factors like the plague; the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a prominent advocacy and fundraising group, vehemently and unequivocally denies the link between abortion and breast cancer, citing Berals shady study. Komen is evidently content to ignore mounting epidemiological evidence along with current knowledge of breast physiology which makes such a link all the more creditable.
Curiously, Komen also funnels millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood — already a recipient of considerable governmental largesse. By doling out tons of contraceptives and providing for more abortion than any other outfit in the country, Planned Parenthood virtually ensures that the breast cancer epidemic will persist, not shrink.
You dont have to be a cynic to find this cozy relationship a bit fishy.
Yes, something is rotten in Pink Denmark — despite the good will that the awareness campaign evokes in many people, among other redeeming qualities. Awareness of Breast Cancer per se, of course, is not the problem. Forbidding awareness of highly relevant reproductive risk factors ineluctably undermines the overall effort, which reveals that it is committed to womens health — only up to a certain point.
Im sure marketing gurus could figure out a way to raise awareness of these factors tactfully and succinctly at the supermarket check out counter, where everyone without fail is regularly asked to pitch in. Or if NFL players are man enough to wear pink on the field, why couldnt broadcasters mention these risk factors on the air — perhaps during a marquee game in New York City, where 40 percent of all pregnancies end in abortion? (The figure is 60 percent among African Americans — much higher than even Eastern Europe, which with 105 abortions for every 100 live births, has the highest abortion rate in the world.) Even if they framed it as controversial, that would be some serious awareness-raising.
Someone has got to man up and bring the truth to light. But the NFL, like the supermarket chains and every other commercial enterprise, only follows the lead of the public health and medical establishment which has gone soft and disregarded its own standards when confronted with the demands of political correctness.
Pink campaigns strike a chord because we want to provide or procure everything we can to help women counter this dreaded disease; hopefully research will lead to new breakthroughs. But its time even these politically incorrect risk factors get the awareness they deserve.
I do not mean the following to say that abortion is anything less than an unconscionable horror, same as murder is.
But are the poorer statistics for avoiding breast cancer associated with having an abortion, mirrored by those who adopt out their newborns and don’t breast feed?
One needs to be a bit careful about the questions one might imply.
The Susan M. Komen co-option of the pink ribbon is a worse issue, because she’s not shy about cheering PP, the turd in an otherwise reasonable punch bowl.
I encourage all conservative women to have three or more children not for health but to dominate the Left by sheer numbers alone.
My husband didn’t want any more children, after having been married before and having one child from that marriage... needless to say it was hellacious for him to deal with the ongoing shenanigans from his ex.
What do you do when the other half doesn’t want kids? Poke holes in the prophylactics? Ex wife did that to my husband when he was still with her... would’ve wrecked our (new and just- started ) relationship if I had tried that!!!!!
OMG. Sorry for the rapid-fire!!!!!
You shouldn’t have married him if you wanted children and he didn’t.
OMG. Sorry for the rapid-fire!!!!!
OMG sorry for the rapid-fire response!!!
What a shame that people are largely unaware of this.
I’ll admit I own a few of those goofy pink ribbon items, but that goes back to the days when I was ignorant. Now, I avoid that like the plague. I also avoid business that give to PP. And my daughter will NEVER be part of the Girl Scouts who also deny the dangers of OC & abortion, have string ties to PP, and are essentially an arm of the UN by promoting their children’s rights crap.
People have no idea how entrenched this evil is in our culture. SGK & this pink ribbon garbage is only the tip of the iceberg.
My understanding is that carrying a pregnancy to term lowers the risk of breast cancer, and breastfeeding lowers the rusk even further. Having an abortion (if my recollection is correct) raises the risk by 30%
Found out after I married him. Would u want me to have divorced him after I found out?????
I think that conversation should’ve happened before the vows.
If you hit abuse on all your extra comments and explain to the mods, they’ll delete all the extras.
When we were dating he told me he wanted kids then after we were married he backed off. Should I have divorced him after he backed out?????????
Didn’t you discuss this before you were married? I would never tell somebody to get a divorce, that’s their personal decision, but if I had wanted to have children and my spouse did not, I would. If you are fine not having children and don’t think you will later regret it than that’s good.
Being told you can’t have children, when you truly want them, would be a really sad thing.
Grown up septuplets all with the same marital problem - what are the odds?
It is not the breast feeding so much that protects against cancer; it is the completion of the pregnancy itself.
Breast cancer originates in immature undifferetiated breast cells - tissues that have not matured and specialized yet. These cells proliferate in the first trimester of pregnancy, stimulated by the increase in estrogen that occurs. These young growing cells are especially vulnerable to malgnancy, but the second half of pregnancy takes care of this:
In the second half of pregnancy the estrogen levels recede and the immature cells now differentiate into mature milk-producing tissue in response to the lowered estrogen. These more stable mature cells do not have the tendency toward malignancy.
Even if the woman does not breastfeed, the breast cells have specialized and matured and are less likely to turn cancerous.
I hope this helps - I got the info off a website pregnantpause.org
Lifesitenews also covers this topic
If somebody that supposedly loved me lied to me about something so important, you’re darn right I’d divorce him.
Like I said though, if you’re okay with it, it’s your life and your marriage so nobody can tell you what to do.
sorry - meant undifferentiated and malignancy - I thought I had proofread but missed a couple
I support women’s breasts
I'd caution people to buy into anyone’s assertion that mammograms are unnecessary for women under a certain age. I don't fall into any of the risk categories this article mentioned, yet I have had an annual mammogram and sonogram since I turned 35 and I'll do so for the rest of my life.
He said he wanted kids when we were going out but BACKED OUT after we were married. In fact after we were married I found the sabotaged prophylactics...
I’ve always wondered about the lower risks for developing breast cancer since most people don’t have a lot of kids. I recently had my sixth and have been either pregnant or breastfeeding since I was twenty.
Look, you don’t sound happy to me. I don’t know how old you are or how long you’ve been married, or even if it’s too late for you to have children, but maybe you need to talk to somebody about this.
Like I said, if you want to have children and he does not, it’s a big deal. You did not change your mind, he did.
I do hope I’m wrong and that you are happy and okay with the decision.
Got married in 1980. Been married to him for d@mm near 31 years. I do NOT break vows given before God and man. My word is my bond, tho it may be to my detriment....
My mother and her sister both got it... both had kids after 30...Auntie died a horrible death from it... Mom lived till almost 80 and beat it ...
54. Nothing I can do about it now.
Good! At my age, my breasts need support!
I’m sorry about both your mother and your sister. I hope you take care of yourself.
Remember you didn’t break your vow before God and man, your husband did. For some reason it saddens me. I really wish you the best and hope other things in your life have made up for it.
Having children is not for everyone but to want them and not be able to have them because somebody lied to you, is wrong.
That’s my sermon for the day.:)
Big and bouncy or small and sexy... They all deserve our attention!!
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This is an extremely important article, as it says, "the elephant in the room", bigger than a gorilla. Breast cancer has increased 40% since abortion became forcibly legal in every state; additional risk factors are hormanal contraceptives and putting off or having no children. If the medical profession was not cowardly, this would be explain clearly to every woman in every doctor's office.
Regarding breast feeding, I read long ago a study done in a SE Asian community wherein the inhabitants had a (very odd!!) custom of mothers feeding the babies only on one side, can't remember which side. When they got breast cancer, it was generally in the breast not used for feeding infants.
And you still want more children? If you are better than his ex he might be a bit more willing to help you with this.
I don’t buy this for a minute. Women that never give birth at a higher risk for breast cancer?? BS. Some women can never have kids, and will not likely face breast cancer. And to suggest women are only good for giving birth, and to mandate women give birth, is insulting, tyrannical and evil.
There is more to life than having kids, many couples and singles are perfectly content and healthy without kids. What is good for some, is not necessarily the case for others.
They are immune to criticism on two fronts: sympathy and sex.
Who doesn't want to be nice to breasts?
This is a scam par excellence.
just press the button once and wait.
Amen to that!