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Six Things to Consider During the Pink Month

October 8, AD2014

Every year, as October comes around, many breast cancer victims like me find themselves inwardly groaning. How can efforts purportedly for our benefit be so tragically off the mark, and even immoral? Yet every year, it seems that the public is somehow transported into a fake pink world of good intentions.

Instead of telling you my particular story, or that of my daughter, I’d like to share some thoughts and facts with you. Perhaps, slowly, we can get the charitable care of cancer victims out of the merchandising field and into the human support arena. Most of all, I urge you to read what I have to say and to “think before you pink”.

1. Breast Cancer — Are We Aware?

Breast cancer is a frightening diagnosis and preventive measures, as well as thorough treatment, are crucial. Fortunately, awareness is at an all-time high. I’d say it’s safe to conclude that, at this point, the whole world is aware of this sexy disease. It’s just so much darn fun to “save the boobies”, name your bra color, or show concern for everyone’s “ta-tas”.

But is it really necessary or helpful at this point? Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on salaries, advertising gimmicks, and overhead costs for a disease that couldn’t be better known. Is the pinking of food wrappers, kitchen appliances, and football helmets really doing anything tangible for the victims? Or is it a scheme to make us feel good, and generate a slightly salacious giggle, while we lose one more thing to commercialism?

2. How Best to Approach It

There’s a better way to approach this disease and its victims. Going through diagnosis, chemo and/or radiation, mastectomy, and reconstruction is anything but sexy or giggle-worthy. It’s a nightmare that touches the lives of everyone in one way or another. I’ll bet each of you reading this can name a relative or friend who has suffered the ravages of this disease. No amount of pink can alleviate that experience.

The more charitable thing to do would be to address individual victims. They need your help. Drive someone to the doctor or chemo. Visit and hold their hand or clean their house. Have a fundraiser to augment the forgotten costs not covered by insurance and a disappearing savings account. Pray for them, cook meals, or watch their children. These things are true charity and much more appreciated than you’ll ever know.

3. Susan G. Komen and the American Cancer Society Aren’t Pro-Life

The high-dollar organizations pushing these commercialized efforts might not be who you think they are. They may appear to have wholesome intentions, all wrapped up in pink fluff, but what are they actually doing? Susan G. Komen (SGK) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) support embryonic stem cell research, even though not one single cure has been found in any of the rampant experimentation on these unborn children. Not for any disease.

SGK also colludes with Planned Parenthood (PP), the #1 abortion provider in the nation. They actually gives grants to PP for mammography, a service not a single PP clinic can provide because they don’t have the necessary equipment. PP takes the money from SGK and refers patients to other facilities for mammograms. Why doesn’t SGK simply refer women themselves or give grants to the health departments all over the United States? I’d call that poor stewardship.

Note: Although SGK briefly sought to give funding directly to mammogram providers, pressure from PP and devastating public relations distortions found them reversing their decision three days later. Soon after, the executive in charge of the effort resigned. You see, in the high dollar world of PP, bullying works!

4. Moral Alternatives

Should you find that you do want to contribute to research, find a moral alternative. There are organizations out there, doing valuable research, that don’t buy into the lie of embryonic stem cell research nor collude with abortion clinics. If a cure is found, wouldn’t it be wonderful if it was found by a moral group of scientists who adhere to natural law and respect all life?

Polycarp Research Institute:  performs high-quality medical research and serves as a resource center. Research areas are: the link between abortion and breast cancer, the link between oral contraceptives and breast cancer, the post-fertilization effect of emergency contraceptives, and the post-fertilization effects of oral contraceptive.

Breast Cancer Prevention Institute: dedicated to providing the most up-to-date and accurate information to medical professionals and the general public on how to prevent breast cancer. Their on-line publications, as well as their list of other resources, are all designed to provide knowledge of practical, risk-reduction strategies.

National Breast Cancer Foundation®: provides breast cancer information, facts, statistics, symptoms and treatments, early detection, mammography screenings, and breast cancer research from the official non-profit source offering charity donations and corporate sponsorship opportunities for breast cancer.

5. Is Pink the Solution to Breast Cancer?

The pinking of our country by SGK and ACS has become so ingrained into our society that many places of business mentally blackmail their employees into participation. Products come out in customized pink versions and packaging. Even football has become “chickified” by the use of pink helmets.

All of this makes many breast cancer survivors/victims shake their heads in disbelief. The extent to which commercialization has taken place is mind-boggling. Ask yourself, “What does this really have to do with the disease we are purportedly supporting? Is there really a proportionate, tangible benefit to anyone other than the businesses and organizations that profit?

6. Let the Truth Be Your Guide

Yet, when we tell others the unsavory facts, we are often ostracized and looked upon with suspicion. They might argue in disbelief or say our view

is too narrow. Always share the truth anyway — factually, briefly, and gently. Share the truth with faith as your guide. You might be met by strong resistance; but, as long as you’ve planted some seeds, you’ve done your part. After the truth is comprehended and the knee-jerk reaction to argue has abated, you might just have won over another advocate.

Breast Cancer - Think Before You Pink!

Breast Cancer – Think Before You Pink!

Yes, it’s difficult to live in this world and not be affected by it, especially when businesses and work places mentally twist arms. Yet we need to stand firm.

Speaking for myself and many cancer victims like me, I’d never want anyone — especially a precious pre-born child — to die so that I could live. Thank you for standing true to the truth and your faith!

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Birgit is a 50-something cradle Catholic who is passionate about the pro-life movement. She has been married to her Catholic convert husband, Rick, for 40 years. They have four children and nine living grandchildren (all age twelve and under). Their frequent visits eliminate any fear of an empty nest! Birgit can also be found on her personal blog Designs By Birgit and Facebook fan page Designs By Birgit, where she shares the pro-life memes she creates.

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  • cookala

    I have read many times that of all the money you spend on a pink t-shirt, shoe laces,car emblems, you name it, it comes in pink, etc. a very, very small fraction of this actually goes to research. I laugh seeing the NFL all “pinked up”, it serves no purpose to do this.

  • Excellent article!! I hope all will post a link to it on FB…I did. This deserves WIDE dissemination. Kudos! (Also agree that the downplay/outright denial of the ABC link, and the major problems caused by the estrogen in the Pill need to be pointed out in any discussion of these issues.)

  • TMD

    It also continues to bother me that there is such an emphasis on “pink” but very little reference to the fact that cancer is not the leading cause of death for women, though it is not far behind heart disease as the leading cause. Also, while breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women, more women die of lung cancer than breast cancer. I often wonder where all of the billions of dollars of pink money raised everywhere, year round and not just in October, actually goes, and why there is not more effort in funding heart disease and lung cancer awareness. When having this discussion a few years ago with my daughter, who is now 20, I think she got right to the point. Her response was, “Everybody likes boobs. Most people don’t think about the other stuff.”

    • Birgit Atherton Jones

      Your daughter is spot on!

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  • Krystin Rowley

    This is amazing! Thank you!! You’ve put into words so much of my thoughts about October!!

    • Birgit Atherton Jones

      Thanks, Krystin. I think there might be more of us than people think.

  • Bill S

    If a cure is found, wouldn’t it be wonderful if it was found by a moral group of scientists who adhere to natural law and respect all life?

    As opposed to immoral scientists who don’t adhere to “natural law” (they have no choice but to adhere to the laws of nature but they can violate “natural law” out of spite or ignorance of what it is) and who don’t respect life. They can go to you know where.

    • Birgit Atherton Jones

      Bill S, is there a question in there somewhere or are you quibbling with me hoping that ethical scientists find ethical cures?

    • Bill S

      No. I was just heckling you for suggesting that some scientists are moral and others are not based on whether they use embryonic stem cells.

    • Birgit Atherton Jones

      Considering that embryos are tiny humans – since life begins at fertilization – and embryonic stem cell research preys on these tiny humans, that distinction does draw an ethical line.

    • Bill S

      You can say that an embryo is a tiny human but the nine month process ahead of it is not its inalienable right. To judge a scientist to be immoral for terminating the life of an embryo when there are so many other factors on which to base such judgements is unfair.

    • Birgit Atherton Jones

      Killing one human in order to experiment for the potential cure of another human is not only unfair, it’s unjust. Humans aren’t like spare automobile parts – each individual has a unique dignity and a right to live and a right to a natural death.

    • Bill S

      You are giving too much value to embryos. Ideologically, you see them as something they are not. If you want to call them little human beings, that is your right. But the people making the decisions on things of this nature are better informed to make the right ones.

    • Bucky Inky

      But the people making the decisions on things of this nature are better informed to make the right ones.

      Of course, one must question just how well informed Bill S is to make such a judgment about the “people making the decisions on things of this nature.”

    • Bill S

      It’s simply a case of “less is more”. A better informed person is one who doesn’t look at an embryo as being vested with imaginary dignity and rights and as possessing an eternal soul or already having a personality and being recognizable in an afterlife. To a better informed person, it is just a collection of cells and DNA that could, under the right conditions, develop into a fetus and then an infant and eventually a fully grown human being. Those right conditions are not its inalienable rights as an embryo.

    • Bucky Inky

      Why do you have to explain all of this if “less is more?” Just as a newborn baby grows to be a man with nothing more than physical sustenance (food, water, oxygen), so also an embryo grows to be a newborn baby with nothing more than physical sustenance. It seems more complicated to put the embryo into a different category than human, not a “less is more” approach to the matter.

    • Bill S

      By “less is more” I am referring to the factors to consider in determining if it is ethnical to terminate an embryo. Catholics make it way to convoluted with all kinds of ideological reasons for bringing every embryo from its conception to its natural death. The people making these decisions see that as just so much nonsense.

    • Bucky Inky

      I object to terminating the life of an embryo willfully on the same ethical ground that I object to terminating the life of a newborn baby willfully, which is the same ethical ground that I object to terminating the life of a full-grown human being willfully. My observation is that you have to take a more convoluted means to justify the first but not the second and third situation rather than to say that none of the situations is ever justified.

      Looks as though we’re worlds apart on this and probably won’t convince each other of very much.

    • Bill S

      There is a word for someone who objects to the terminating the life an embryo on the same ethical grounds as terminating the life of a baby or a fully grown adult human – DIFFICULT.

      There is no reasoning with such people. Those empowered to make these decisions don’t listen to them.

    • Bucky Inky

      I understand what you are saying – you hold that killing a child in the womb (or embryo if you prefer) is justified because those with the power to make policy say that it is.

      There is a word for someone who argues this way – UNCONVINCING.

    • Bill S

      No. What I am saying is that there are people who are qualified to judge on the ethics of using embryos for research and those who aren’t. The ones who aren’t are the ones who apply the same consideration to an embryo as to a newborn and an adult.

    • Bucky Inky

      We know that we should not “apply the same consideration to an embryo as to a newborn and an adult” because those who make decisions in this way are qualified. We know that they are qualified because the do not “apply the same consideration to an embryo as to a newborn and an adult.”

    • Bill S

      I see the circular argument. If you insist that an embryo deserves the same consideration as a newborn and as an adult, you are not qualified to make life and death decisions. Period.

    • Bucky Inky

      Because qualified people say so.

    • Bill S

      Well. I say so. I consider myself to be qualified to state my own personal opinion. You have to look to those who make the big bucks to make big decisions.

    • A human being is an organism of the species homo sapiens. That applies to all human beings from the zygote stage to the senior citizen stage. This is basic scientific, biological fact.

    • Bill S

      You don’t like to think about the idea that not all human beings are of equal value to society. Whether you like it or not, we provide the most protection to the most valuable members of society. The law protects you more than it protects an embryo because, whether you want to admit it or not, you are of more value to society than an embryo. By the same reasoning, you are not protected by secret service guards because, besides there being less people looking to kill you, you are not as valuable to society as the POTUS.

    • Yes, not all human beings are of equal value to society. And that’s a BAD thing, Bill. That’s something we should strive to correct, not accept as right and just. Just like in 1835, black people were not of equal value to society and abolitionists fought to end slavery.

    • Bill S

      There is “right and just” and then there i ridiculous. An embryo used for research does not have the same value as a newborn or an adult. The superstition that all three have “eternal souls” is the main reason why Catholics try to hinder research and IVF.

    • Won’t have to draw ethical lines any longer as science has developed a method to harvest an embryonic stem cell without destroying the embryo….

      http://www.cnet.com/news/scientists-grow-embryonic-stem-cells-without-destroying-embryo/

    • Debi Vinnedge

      There is nothing ethical in how they accomplished this – they dissected embryos, they used aborted fetal cell lines to produce the LN-521 – and why would anyone want hESC anyway when you know they are going to form tumors? Adult stem cells don’t carry that problem or the moral baggage! Here is the referenced study: http://www.nature.com/…/ncomms4195/full/ncomms4195.html And some notes: “First, we produced human LN-521, that is located in stem cell niches, as a full size trimeric protein in HEK-293 cells.
      Second, it was demonstrated that a combination of LN-521 and E-cadherin when used as a sole cell culture matrix enables clonal proliferation at as high a rate as 10–20%, self-renewal and derivation of new hES cell lines under completely chemically defined, xeno-free conditions, without the addition of any inhibitors of anoikis. Both proteins are biologically relevant for pluripotent hES cells, as they are normally expressed by cells in the blastocyst ICM26, 39 and by cultured pluripotent hES cells4, 34. This xeno-free procedure may be appropriate for the derivation of hES cells for use in regenerative medicine. Since our LN-521/E-cadherin matrix allowed clonal expansion and survival of hES cells, we explored if it could replace feeders and undefined components for clonal hES cell line derivation. Three different derivation protocols were tested of which one worked (Table 3). Surplus frozen human cleavage stage embryos were thawn and incubated in G1 Plus cleavage medium for 24 h to the 8–10 cell stage under standard culture procedures. Multiple blastomere biopsies were obtained from each embryo to minimize the number of embryos used. For the successful protocol, six blastomeres were initially plated on a LN-521/E-cadherin matrix under oil in a 20 μl drop of G1 Plus medium supplemented with LN-511, LN521 and 20 mg ml−1 human recombinant serum albumin. The following day, four out of six blastomeres had attached, all of them having divided at least once. Subsequent feeding was done according to the protocol described in Table 3 Protocol N2. Four days after plating, three blastomeres gave small tight outgrowths of cells. Two weeks after the initial plating, one of them looked like a colony of human pluripotent cells, while two others had not survived.”

    • Bill, go take a walk. Your OCD is getting the better of you again with your “heckling.”

    • Bill S

      Ha. You are right.

  • and check out the “ABC link” – and the coverup that has tried to hide the facts that women who have had an abortion are at higher risk for breast cancer. Guy McClung, San Antonio

    • Birgit Atherton Jones

      Absolutely correct, Guy, and well worth a mention! This cover-up (and the one involving the Pill) has been going on far too long. The medical facts are finally beginning to be allowed to see the light of day.

    • I would more trust the position of the National Cancer Institute, http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/abortion-miscarriage

      “The relationship between induced and spontaneous abortion and breast cancer risk has been the subject of extensive research beginning in the late 1950s. Until the mid-1990s, the evidence was inconsistent. Findings from some studies suggested there was no increase in risk of breast cancer among women who had had an abortion, while findings from other studies suggested there was an increased risk. Most of these studies, however, were flawed in a number of ways that can lead to unreliable results. Only a small number of women were included in many of these studies, and for most, the data were collected only after breast cancer had been diagnosed, and women’s histories of miscarriage and abortion were based on their “self-report” rather than on their medical records. Since then, better-designed studies have been conducted. These newer studies examined large numbers of women, collected data before breast cancer was found, and gathered medical history information from medical records rather than simply from self-reports, thereby generating more reliable findings. The newer studies consistently showed no association between induced and spontaneous abortions and breast cancer risk.

      Or the American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/moreinformation/is-abortion-linked-to-breast-cancer

      “The largest, and probably the most reliable, study on this topic was done during the 1990s in Denmark, a country with very detailed medical records on all its citizens. In this study, all Danish women born between 1935 and 1978 (a total of 1.5 million women) were linked with the National Registry of Induced Abortions and with the Danish Cancer Registry. All of the information about their abortions and their breast cancer came from registries – it was very complete and was not influenced by recall bias.

      After adjusting for known breast cancer risk factors, the researchers found that induced abortion(s) had no overall effect on the risk of breast cancer. The size of this study and the manner in which it was done provide good evidence that induced abortion does not affect a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.

      Another large cohort study was reported on by Harvard researchers in 2007. This study included more than 100,000 women who were between the ages of 29 and 46 at the start of the study in 1993. These women were followed until 2003. Because they were asked about childbirths and abortions at the start of the study, recall bias was unlikely to be a problem. After adjusting for known breast cancer risk factors, the researchers found no link between either spontaneous or induced abortions and breast cancer.

      The California Teachers Study also reported on more than 100,000 women in 2008. Researchers had asked the women in 1995 about past induced and spontaneous abortions. There was no difference in breast cancer risk between the group who had either spontaneous or induced abortions and those who had not had an abortion.

      A European cohort study that published findings in 2006 followed over 260,000 women from 9 countries over an average of more than 6 years. This study found no link between induced abortion and breast cancer risk.

      A French cohort study of more than 100,000 women, published in 2003, also found no link between induced abortion and breast cancer risk.

      A 2013 Danish study of over 25,000 women who had at least one full-term pregnancy found no link between induced abortion and breast cancer risk over 12 years of follow-up.

      Other cohort studies have looked specifically at the possible link between abortion and breast cancer in African-American women and in women who are at increased risk of breast cancer because they have mutations in the BRCAgenes. These studies also did not find a link.”

      I will avoid the mention of flawed studies by Brind and company….

    • Birgit Atherton Jones

      I’d like to refer you to the numerous medical studies done in many countries since 1957. The correlation between induced abortion (not spontaneous abortion/miscarriage) is irrefutable. Read the scientific study results here: http://www.abortionbreastcancer.com/ABC_Research/index.htm

      And although the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has long denied a link between abortion and breast cancer, the time to apologize to the women it has misled may be at hand, since one of its own researchers is now beginning to acknowledge the link.

      Further, even my daughter’s oncological ob-gyn confirmed that keeping her pregnancy intact, after a breast cancer diagnosis at 20 weeks gestation, improved her overall chance of survival – having an abortion would decrease her chance of survival. http://catholicstand.com/evangelizing-life-chemo-pregnant/