By Mary Duggan
Just when I thought the Pink Campaign couldn’t get any worse, it has. Here in Chicago, Advocate Health Care has created a 16-foot tall, 1500 pound, hot pink underwire bra sculpture and they are taking it, and their “Stories of the Girls” campaign, on the road for the month of October. Brace yourself, it may be coming soon to a neighborhood near you. If it comes to my neighborhood I will be there to take a selfie with THE BRA and then I will share it with you. I will be in the forefront making a negative hand gesture (no, not that finger) – a thumbs down actually – and posting it to my facebook page. Thumbs down Advocate. I refuse to take the bait. You are not warming my heart; but you are most certainly making my blood boil.
Here it is October and like so many women I have my hands full what with getting out the mums and the pumpkins and the hay bale and the corn stalks. But I love it: all the decorating and all the hassle of swapping summer clothes for winter ones; and the leaf-raking and the gutter cleaning and the days shortening; and the temps dropping and the kids in their costumes. I only hate, and I mean hate the Pink part. And I am not alone. But please, before you fire off a note about how much you hate me, give me a minute to explain where I’m coming from. Does anyone still say that – where I’m coming from?
I know all sorts of good and sincere people participate in the culture of Pink. I know they desperately want a cure for cancer, especially breast cancer. And I know that many if not most of them have lost someone to breast cancer, or have survived it themselves, or God forbid are dealing with it right now. I have no bone to pick with those folks. Except to say that I think they deserve better. They deserve the truth. Why? Because cancer is a terrifying, bone-chilling and painful ordeal and anyone who has ever watched it destroy someone they love can attest to that. I have seen enough to last two lifetimes. It inspires all the work I do. So please do not write me to yell at me.
Here’s why I can’t stand the Pink Campaign; and why I am not alone. Lots of us aren’t interested in a campaign run by AstraZeneca – a world class chemical polluter and the producer of a cancer drug called tamoxifen. Lots of us have made the connection between a chemically poisoned planet and the role it plays in the development of cancer in our bodies – breast or elsewhere. For that company to then make money off a chemically caused health crisis by selling us a chemically-derived pharmaceutical – tamoxifen – for our cancer is just too evil for words.
The Duggan Sisters support of all sorts of charities; it feels good and it is the right thing to do. But Health Care in the US is a FOR-PROFIT enterprise. So when we are asked to walk and run and collect money and make donations to a huge FOR-PROFIT industry it doesn’t feel good. And when we separate ourselves from all the noise and fake emotion and pressure and manipulation we can identify what these tactics always make us feel – which is angry. And that, Advocate, is not cool. Or helpful, when we are very busy working at not geting cancer and sharing what we know to help others do the same.
Lots of us are also made crazy by an industry that: can’t get its act together about whether or not we should have mammograms; and at what age; and how often; and whether or not they might create lots of false positives; or frequently cause women to seek treatment who probably don’t need to; or hey, is it even safe to be radiating breasts; or compressing tissue that might in fact contain cancerous cells? So we just don’t place much faith in these FOR-PROFIT folks who stand outside with 1500 pound bras referring to both breasts and women as “Girls” and urging us on to our mammograms.
Why? Because we have done our research, and opted for the safer and more accurate test – Thermal Imaging – aka thermography. Mammograms are already obsolete, very likely dangerous and at the very least wildly incomplete. And so Advocate, we don’t care how much money you have spent on your mammogram machines and staff. We have leap-frogged over your sluggish mammogram recommendations. Sorry to have left you in the dust with your FOR-PROFIT misallocation of funds in primarily mammograms. But, we’re trying to not have cancer. We are concerned with prevention first and early detection as a not very close second. And we have no time to waste.
And about the bra, dudes, not smart. Medical Anthropologists used double blind studies years ago to establish the link between bras and breast cancer. Yep, they posed a theory that you keep calling nonsense. Meanwhile researchers at Harvard University (and researchers in China and researchers in Spain and on and on) keep concurring with their findings. And the thing about science is this, until someone proves otherwise, their theory stands. So how insulting and stupid is it to build a 1500 pound underwire bra to connect with women about breast cancer? Oh yeah, very stupid and very insulting.
Those of us who can’t stand the whole Pink Campaign are smart. We eat anti-inflammatory diets, dress in wire and chemical free clothing, use careful supplementation guided by skillful practitioners of functional medicine to support our immune system. We are fastidious about personal care products, household cleaners, toxic furnishings and unsafe water. We do our seasonal cleanses while we tend to our grief and wrap-up toxic relationships because we know their power to suppress immune function. We are doing our absolute best to not fall victim to cancer. And if despite doing our best cancer wins, at least we will know in a timely and safe and accurate fashion because of thermal imaging. Oh and one more thing Advocate “Health Care” we don’t follow Oprah guidelines when we talk about our bodies. We have breasts and vaginas – not girls and va-jay-jays. And we have brains – and we know how to use ’em.
I hope you will follow along this October as we explore why the Pink Campaign is not healthy for our children and why our focus needs to be elsewhere.
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