Sanctioned Casualties of War

When Dr. Hania Morsi Fadl invited members of Sudan’s high society to celebrate the opening of the Khartoum Breast Care Centre in 2010, no one even responded.

Killing Women Softly: Questioning the American Cancer Society’s New Breast Cancer Guidelines

I was 44 years old when I went to the lab one lazy summer day for my annual mammogram. As I was leaving, the nurse said, “I see your doctor wants you to get a follow-up breast ultrasound, too.” One week later, after undergoing a lengthy breast sonogram and then a biopsy, my doctor called […]

Breast Cancer Industry Month Is Here!

Pink pink pink pink pink!! You must have noticed the vast influx of pink promotional products lining the aisles of supermarkets, adorning the logos of well-known brands, accessorizing the uniforms of football players and overtaking ad space. Breast Cancer Industry month is upon us! You may know it more familiarly as Breast Cancer Awareness month—a […]

Maleficent’s Mastectomy Metaphor?

The lively discussion of the film Maleficent has focused on the turn of the plot after its title character is drugged by the human she loves and stripped of her wings, her ability to fly and, he presumes, her power. Jolie told the BBC, We were very conscious, the writer and I, that [the scene in […]

Think Before You Pink: Toxic Time Is Up

Why is the breast cancer epidemic still raging after 30 years of “awareness” and pink ribbons? Each year, corporations pack the shelves with pink-ribbon products, surrounding us with “breast cancer awareness” messages. These products help to raise billions of dollars in the name of breast cancer, yet more than 40,000 women in the U.S. still […]

Will Komen’s New Leadership Put It Back on Track?

Last week, the Susan G. Komen Foundation named Judith Salerno to replace Nancy Brinker as president and chief executive officer of the breast cancer charity. In the highly controversial aftermath of the Planned Parenthood defunding debacle in January of 2012, Komen’s announcement comes with a sigh of relief. Although founder and former CEO Brinker will […]

Melissa Etheridge and “The Brave Choice”

There’s been a lot of discussion of “shaming” recently on the Ms. Blog: fat-shaming, slut-shaming, young-mother shaming. Let’s add to that list cancer-shaming. Last week, singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge, in an interview with the Washington Blade, was asked how she felt—as a breast cancer survivor—about actor/director Angelina Jolie’s public announcement that she had undergone a prophylactic […]

People Over Profit: What the BRCA Ruling Means for Patients’ Rights

Last Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that human genes cannot be patented, a historic decision that guarantees that the DNA that comprises our very being cannot be owned by a corporation. The hard-fought victory had been years in the making and represented a David and Goliath fight between patients and profit. In one corner you […]

Barbara Brenner and the Road Less Pink

I met Barbara Brenner in a book. In a collection of scholarly essays called Breast Cancer: Society Shapes an Epidemic, she wrote the final substantive chapter, which was about women creating a breast cancer movement. I had just begun my own investigation of breast cancer culture, industry and advocacy. I re-read Barbara’s words many times. […]

Making it Better, Not Worse

You need former Ms. editor Letty Cottin Pogrebin‘s new book How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick. Everyone needs this book. If you have a sick friend, if you are a sick friend, if your friend has a family member who is sick, here’s where to turn to learn how to help […]

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