We've come through yet another pink-ribboned October. It's hard to miss the symbol of breast cancer awareness, it's on everything from perfume packaging to baby bottles to fast food takeout cups.
The thing is, I'm pretty sure we don't need reminding that breast cancer's a problem. If you haven't gone through the battle yourself, odds are you've supported someone — friend, sister, mother, daughter, partner — who has. We're plenty aware. Now it's time to make October's pink ribbons all about what we can do to prevent this devastating disease.
Breast cancer is not normal. Yet it's become so common — and accepted? — that now it's easy to find greeting cards specifically designed to support friends and family braving chemotherapy.
I hate to be cynical, but there are many who cash in on October's pink ribbon frenzy. Last year it was KFC buckets sporting pink ribbons; this year you can find any product you can imagine online at "The Pink Ribbon Shop."
Getting pushy about prevention
Last year, we called for "An ounce of prevention" during October. Thousands responded, and working with partners across the country, we delivered more than 70,000 signatures to the White House calling for a national cancer prevention plan.
Getting pesticides off our farms and out of our diets is one path toward prevention. Scientists link exposure to many pesticides — especially in adolesence while mammary glands are developing — to increased risk of breast cancer later in life.
According to the President's Cancer Panel, "girls exposed to DDT before they reach puberty are five times more likely to develop breast cancer in middle age."
Think before you pink
This year our great partners at Breast Cancer Action and The Breast Cancer Fund continue to highlight the need to shift from awareness to prevention.
BCA — well known for their Think Before You Pink campaign launched in 2002 — is collecting signatures on a letter to the largest breast cancer organizion in the world, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, urging them to recall a perfume they commissioned that contains ingredients harmful to women's health.
At a time when virtually every American has been touched by breast cancer, what we need is commitment to strong public policy to eliminate the environmental causes of breast cancer. With this commitment, we will reach a time when fewer people are diagnosed with this devastating disease.
Hear, hear. Our daughters deserve nothing less.