This documentary has been on my radar since September 2012 and I finally had a chance to watch it and thought I should share some of the information with my readers – and also encourage you to go watch it for yourself.
According to the official movie website, this is “The story of the commercialization of the breast cancer movement and the exploitation of human generosity, hope and trust”
The first thing I want to let you know is that they never say anything bad about the people who participate in walks and donate their money. The documentary went to several of these events and talk to the participants and show that they are caring and loving men and women who are trying to make a difference in this cause. The people who made this documentary know these are amazing people and they show it throughout. They also do talk to the people who run Komen and Avon Walk. It is one of the more balanced documentaries I have seen.
But it has solidified that i will not donate to either of these causes or buy the products with the pink ribbons. Both of these organizations barely put any money into prevention. We all want there to be a cure, but it would be even greater if we can prevent it. only 30% of cases of breast cancer are people with the risk factors. If we could know why the other 70% get the disease, we could prevent those cases.
Yet Komen and Avon can’t really look into prevention because the companies they are partnered with use carcinogens in their products. Yoplait yogurt, the largest partner in the Race for the Cure, until 2009 had a growth hormone called bovine somatotropin, which has been linked to breast cancer. They were selling yogurt with pink ribbons and giving it out at walks. Luckily, it is no longer in their yogurt, which is good. But I also learned that their lids campaign is not really worth it. If you had 3 yogurts a day every day of their campaign and sent in your lids, it would raise $34. Write a check, it will cost you less and do more, without giving a corporation a lot of money.
Another interesting point that they make is that by surrounding everyone with pink and this positive attitude, society is putting pressure on those with breast cancer to be positive and happy. Women already have that pressure in normal life to always be happy. If you have cancer, you should get to feel however you want to feel. It sucks and if you don’t want to be happy, you shouldn’t feel pressure to. The language used by these organizations can be alienating to those who are suffering.
There are so many things I could say about this, but I really do want to encourage others to go out and watch it themselves. If you have Netflix disks, I know it is there (that is how I watched it). It is an emotional documentary to watch, especially when they talk to a support group for women with Stage IV cancer. If you know are a cancer survivor or know someone who has battled breast cancer, there will be parts that are hard to watch.
One final thing – I know how easy it is to donate to these two groups and it is hard to find another group that does more prevention research and where the money also goes to patients not corporations. There is a great brochure I found called “Think Before You Pink“. It gives a lot of valuable information about these issues and I learned a lot from reading it. IT has a lot of things you can do without spending any money. *Edit* took out information on Charity Navigator, not really the greatest site, it just looks at finances, not where the money goes*