Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Breast Cancer (Un)awareness Month

It’s about that time of year again when pink ribbons abound everywhere: on yogurt tops, football players, soup cans and more. October is officially Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign founded in 1985 by the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca – a manufacturer of breast cancer drugs – to raise money for research into the disease's cause, prevention and cure. If there is a product to be sold, you can bet there will be a pink ribbon on it.

Though there are some 19 humane breast cancer charities, it is the few big-name charities, like the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, that get all the media attention. Despite the huge amounts of money raised, Komen for the Cure has had little to show for their media-savvy, consumerist juggernaut because their primary method of research - animal testing - is a known failure. Why do they continue to do it? Quite simply– the money! Research is big business, and animal research is primarily funded by taxpayer dollars through grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In order to keep getting their share of taxpayer money, charities, pharmaceutical companies, and others, who profit generously from animal research, will do anything to keep making money, even if it means convincing the public that animal testing is necessary.

It's no wonder there hasn’t been a cure, despite the onslaught of pink ribbon advertising. According to their website, since 2006, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has provided nearly $28 million to support research that has created drugs like Avastin, which despite being approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2008 for breast cancer treatment, was deemed a failure in July 2010. According to Market Watch, Avastin was one of Roche's best-selling cancer drugs, having made around $5.7 billion in revenue in 2009. Not surprisingly, according to the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS), more than half of the drugs given the green light by the FDA are pulled or relabeled for serious or fatal side effects that were not discovered during animal testing, causing more than 100,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

The War on Cancer has resulted in no cures while billions of dollars continue to be made and spent on brutal and useless experiments on monkeys, rats, mice, rabbits, cats, dogs, and other animals, who are injected with chemicals or cancer cells and forced to endure the growth of painful tumors until they die or are killed. According to Breasts, Not Animal Tests, the use of animals for breast cancer research is unreliable because of animals' significant genetic, cellular, and physiological differences from humans. Breast cancer survivor and National Breast Cancer Coalition founder Fran Visco has stated that, “Animals don't reflect the reality of cancer in humans,” and former National Cancer Institute Director Dr. Richard Klausner said, “The history of cancer research has been the history of curing cancer in the mouse. We have cured mice of cancer for decades, and it simply didn't work in humans.” Yet animals continue to suffer and die as a result of these worthless experiments, and the misleading results prolong the suffering of those who need a cure now.

Don’t be fooled by the pink ribbons. All breast cancer charities are not equal. Humane breast cancer charities, like the Avon Foundation for Women, wisely put dollars toward sensible, preventative measures and the latest technology, not archaic animal tests. These charities make the most of their donations by focusing on the genetic and environmental factors that increase the risks of developing breast cancer using scientifically superior, pro-human-based science.

If you’re going to give your hard-earned money to a charity, it might as well be to one that makes the most effective use of your donation and does not trade one being’s suffering for another.

To find humane cancer charities, visit HumaneSeal.org

For answers to critical questions regarding pink ribbon promotions, visit Think Before You Pink.

Photo credit: InventorSpot.com

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