There is a pernicious disease which runs through the consciousness of women today. This disease is not just breast cancer, it is gullibility and lack of information. This disease of misinformation has a very strong hold on our society.
In the 1940s, one in twenty two women had a risk of getting breast cancer. As of 2011, it is one in eight. Each year, 59,000 women die from breast cancer in the United States alone and women are lead to believe that "Running For The Cure" fundraising is the solution to their disease. The Pink Ribbon campaigns brainwash women into helpless victims who believe that some cure, eventually, will be found if only they bond with their sisters around the world, get a mammogram and donate money to "research".
Of course positive support is important but not as important as uncovering the truth about cancer. The truth is kept willfully hidden from women who seek help with the industrial medical system.
"Running For The Cure" events are a giant marketing party for corporations like Yoplait, Balance, Honest Tea, and many others for selling their products. It is in fact shameful that events which are supposed to promote Cancer awareness bring companies whose products are in fact hurting women (and men). If there was real honesty in the cancer industry, no one would tell women to eat animal products, particularly bovine secretions which are in fact linked to breast cancer. Walk for cure events are also sponsored by Avon, Revlon and Estee Lauder, companies which sell products with carcinogenic chemicals. Yoplait "donates" smoothies to runners containing cancer causing bovine milk or asks people to send their Yoplait container lids "for the cure". They promote a product as healthy when it is in fact hurting people. It is also disturbing to witness Kentucky Fried Chicken doing its own pink advertising while promoting products of diseases and suffering. The Susan G. Komen foundation has donated up to 1.9 billion dollars to so-called "research" (as of 2011), which goes to fund the useless torture of non-human animals.
The message that is spread to women is the patriarchal message that women's bodies are the problem and that we don't know what causes breast cancer. How on Earth do doctors pretend to find a cure to something who they say has no known cause?
In the name of raising money for breast cancer, you can now buy pink guns (not kidding), "pink pony polo's shirts" from Ralph Lauren (not kidding again) and many other things which directly exploit the fears of women and their vulnerability. Breast cancer "research" is about greed and exploitation and they sell the disease in pretty wrapped pink ribbons to make it appealing. The brainwashing of women is so deep that, whenever I tried to give my version of this to women in the past, I was called monster, or uncaring. "How dare I even say something bad about Breast cancer awareness?!"
Well done cancer industry, you've done a beautiful marketing job of keeping women ignorant while you make billions on their health. These awareness campaigns are so powerful that they even reached the virtual 3D world of Second Life where they convince thousands of people to give their virtual money for the "cause". If you're not familiar with this concept, virtual money can be exchanged for real life dollars on Second Life and other virtual worlds and they raise thousands of dollars.
As a feminist and Vegan, I consider these Pink Ribbons campaigns deeply insulting and degrading. Their only benefit is to lift up women psychologically but that is lying to them about the usefulness of their participation in this industry. The marketing of breast cancer is in fact so successful that, otherwise intelligent, women like Angelina Jolie go as far as getting their breasts removed for fear that they might be at risk of breast cancer because the male dominated cancer industry says so. It is ironic, however, that no one advises men to get their prostates removed as a preventive measure even though prostate cancer is as wide-spread for men as is breast cancer for women. And both cancer types are easily preventable. Of course, in a sexist society, worrying about women's breasts is more attractive than men's prostates, hence the posters of naked women holding their breasts. It is therefore accepted as normal and necessary to mutilate women but no one is suggesting doing the same to men.
For centuries, women's wisdom about their bodies has been suppressed by the male dominated medicine. As John Robbins documented in his excellent book "Reclaiming Our Health", male medicine has done everything it could to suppress women's knowledge of natural cures and practices. This included taking over the midwives' ancestral work of birthing, something always done by women, by spreading lies about their supposed witchery or the supposed dangers to babies (lies of course) so that men could take over and control women's bodies in their male-controlled hospitals instead of the woman's home. Then it continued on in the Victorian era with male doctors treating women as hysterical beings (hence the word hysterectomy) if they didn't "behave properly" with their husbands.
To this day, patriarchal medicine sees women as unbalanced emotional beings as well as potential patients for everything from PMS to birth. And let's not forget the attacks on women's reproductive rights and control over their own bodies. Breast cancer research is a pure by-product of this mentality and, instead of being about prevention, it is about profit and taking advantage of women's fears and compassion.
We now know that breast cancer is preventable with the right nutrition and the right lifestyle. A whole foods Vegan lifestyle and the use of animal free and eco-friendly (chemical free) personal care products are the best ways to prevent breast cancer because dairy products and mainstream personal care products are linked to the development of this disease. Our environmental pollution is also a big factor but lifestyle helps determine if genes get turned on or off and can in fact help prevent the action of environmental pollutants. Another lie debunked is that mammograms are not preventing cancer and are in fact dangerous.
With its usual patronizing approach, modern medicine is of the opinion that women are not willing to change their diets, that it is, in the words of Dr. John McDougall, "too much to ask" and let's face it: diet recommendations don't make doctors rich. Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy made someone $50,000. Chemotherapy and radiation are a multi-billion dollar business and "treating" women with it generates a lot of money in a profit-driven industry. So, modern medicine, in its patriarchal capitalistic thinking, is not going to give women the option that is not profitable because it doesn't have an incentive to do so.
Prevention should be the key but, according to Janet Collins, the organizer of the first Cancer Conference on Breast Cancer in Kingston, Ontario in 1997, less than 5% of the millions that go to "research" are for prevention. Charlotte Haley created the first Ribbon to make people aware that prevention was only 5% of all the funds used, not to start the campaigns we have today which don't address this at all. Her idea was stolen by Self Magazine and Estee Lauder who wanted to capitalize on the ribbon idea for their bottom line. Charlotte refused to get involved and they had to come up with a new color for the ribbon to be able to exploit her idea legally. It is nothing short of criminal.
It is ironic that women eat and drink the products of females from other species and are not taught the link between their (indirect) oppression of female animals and their own oppression at the hands of the cancer industry. They not only fail to realize that they imprison themselves by supporting the imprisonment of other animals, but they also reinforce the dominant mentality.
If we look at what treatments are available to women, it is nothing but cut, burn and destroy. It is the same thinking which cuts, burns and destroys other animals or cuts, burns and destroys forests and oceans. That same patriarchal mentality is at the heart of everything that is wrong with modern medicine (and our world). In the 1940s, it started with turning women into "warriors against cancer", a very masculine notion indeed and the "war on cancer" still predominates the discussion.
The industry, including some of their backers like The Weston Price Foundation, have also demonized soy products instead of telling women that eating soy products in fact helps prevent breast cancer when started young. In Asia, where soy consumption is very high, the instances of breast cancer are very low.
As Dr. Joel Fuhrman explains in his book "Super Immunity": "It is now clear that soy intake during adolescence, a time when breast tissue is most sensitive to environmental stimuli and carcinogenesis, may reduce the risk of breast cancer later in life. Recent articles in Cancer Epidemiology and The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that soy consumption during childhood and teenage years reduced the risk of breast cancer in adulthood by 60 percent and 40 percent, respectively.
Soybeans are rich in isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens are plant substances that are chemically similar to estrogen - and since higher estrogen levels promote breast cancer, some people predicted that soy would too. Now we know that the phytoestrogens in soy actually block the effects of the body's estrogen. Despite myths propagated on the Internet, the most recent and reliable clinical studies support a strong protective effect of minimally processed soy foods against breast cancer."
Instead of the clear cut masculine approach, why not a natural feminine approach to Breast Cancer? As Dr. Joel Fuhrman also reported in his book: "In one recent study, women who ate at least 10 grams of fresh mushrooms each day (equivalent to just one small mushroom) had a 64 percent decreased risk of breast cancer. Even more dramatic protection was gained by women who ate 10 grams of mushrooms and consumed green compounds from green tea daily - an 80 percent decrease in risk for premenopausal women and 82 percent for postmenopausal women. Similar associations were observed in studies on stomach and colorectal cancers. Hard to be believe, isn't it? Why doesn't every (emphasis in the text) woman know the protective effects that mushrooms have against breast cancer?"
Why indeed? Because telling women to eliminate animal products and eat vegetables doesn't make the male dominated cancer industry rich.
If women really want to, not just save their breasts, but also help their sisters avoid losing theirs, they need to recognize the link between their consumption of products of suffering which oppresses non-human females and their own oppression at a system which denies them the wisdom and intelligence to heal their own bodies. Until then, unless they make the connections, a lot of them will sadly continue to lose their breasts and their lives. Change will be nothing short of a rejection of the dominant thinking and a return to old wisdom of compassion to themselves and other animals. In connecting these dots, they will then heal.
Sources: For more information, I recommend you see the documentary "Pink Ribbons" which is watchable instantly on Netflix. The documentary has some good information but, unfortunately, typically fails to recognize any link between diet and disease and instead focuses on environmental factors like chemicals. But it is, however, very informative as far as the business of breast cancer is concerned. Thank you so much to my friend Debbie G. Malek for pointing out this documentary to me.
Other sources for this article:
- John Robbins' excellent book "Reclaiming Our Health" which is, in many ways, a feminist call to women to reclaim their bodies from male medicine.
- http://www.drmcdougall.com/health/education/health-science/hot-topics/medical-topics/breast-cancer/%20,">Dr. John McDougall on Breast Cancer and Mammogram dangers
- Dr. John McDougall about Angelina Jolie's decision
- Dr. Joel Fuhrman: "Super Immunity - The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting your Body's Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free"
- And of course, The China Study by T. Colin Campbell
Veronique Perrot, H.C. is a AADP Certified Holistic Vegan Health Coach located in Los Angeles. She teaches nutrition and well being and has also a Certification In Plant Based Diets from Cornell University and a World Peace Diet Certification through Dr. Will Tuttle's World Peace Diet program. You can get in contact with her at www.YourVegLife.com. She produces a free newsletter each months with tips, recipes and information on healthy plant based living. She believes in the abolition of all animal exploitation and has helped people to transition to the vegan lifestyle in an ethical and healthy way. Also visit her blog The Vegan Communicator for good vegan ethics.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.