Questions and Answers

All the things you probably DON’T know about the breast cancer issue

From Pink to Prevention campaign is pre-occupied with
one BIG fundamental question

We are asking all those individuals, organisations and institutions with the power to make or to influence decisions affecting public and occupational health in general, and breast cancer incidence in particular – government, the chemicals industry, public health agencies, cancer charities, the cancer establishment, cancer and science research bodies, the breast cancer industry, big pharma, trade unions, and the entire corporate pink-driven industry – to explain to all the women who have had, who now have and who will have breast cancer:

WHY they persist in refusing to acknowledge the role of environmental and occupational toxicants and other factors of influence (FOIs) , e.g. shift work, in breast cancer and

WHY they persist in ignoring decades of evidence up to the present day – from organisations such as World Health Organisation and the EU and other respected scientific bodies –  on which the link between our lifelong (womb to grave) exposures to toxic chemicals and substances and the escalating incidence of breast cancer, among many other diseases, is based.

We have a right to know. Breast cancer is ugly, painful and common. ‘Pink’ does not reflect the truth of this. We do not accept the ‘lack of scientific evidence’ argument – enough time has been wasted on this.

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Here are more key questions – and answers – that shape our campaign

Q:   Are decision-makers doing their very best to ensure the breast cancer debate addresses ALL possible causes of the disease, including environmental and occupational links?

A: No.

Environmental and occupational links to breast cancer are hardly discussed and yet they are a vitally important element of the wider picture if we are truly understand this disease – now at epidemic proportions. The time has come for all the key players – cancer charities, industry, drugs companies and government – to recognise the role of environmental and occupational toxicants in this complex disease. This means doing something about it. In other words, ‘prevention’.

Figures released by the WHO show that the incidence is growing rapidly around the world, including increased incidence in the developing world. Despite the overwhelming presence of the Pink Ribbon and all its (global) attendant activities, this aspect of the breast cancer debate still remains hidden from view.

Q:   What percentage of funds raised is dedicated to primary prevention? In other words – environmental and occupational links to breast cancer?

A: A fraction.

Currently in the UK, for example, less than 3.6% of funding is spent on prevention, mainly focused on developing and testing mechanisms to encourage positive health behaviour such as eating a balanced diet, increasing physical activity, reducing smoking, and minimising alcohol consumption.

BUT it is unclear how much of this percentage is directly spent on primary prevention- environmental and occupational links to the disease. More widely, therefore, this begs the question ‘how much we are spending on direct funding for action on primary prevention ie stopping breast cancer before it starts’?

We actually don’t know.

Q:   What IS ‘primary ‘prevention’? Let’s define one fundamental term. We need the phrase ‘primary prevention’ to be more widely understood and shared. But what does ‘prevention’ mean when we put ‘primary’ in front of it?

A: To prevent the disease process from starting. 

In other words, not getting the disease in the first place.  Stopping breast cancer before it starts.  We need primary prevention policies on breast cancer.  Urgently.

Breast cancer can be caused by exposures across all environments, to numerous and varied cancer-causing and cancer-promoting agents (MERCs). Large-scale prevention could be achieved by eliminating such exposures.

In the light of expanding knowledge about specific MERCs that are known to be or suspected of being implicated in breast cancer, primary prevention is an attainable goal.

Q:  Why are more and more of us getting breast cancerBreast cancer cases have continued to rise. Yet fewer than 30-50% of cases are attributed to acknowledged ‘risk’ factors – age, obesity, late-age pregnancy, late on set menopause. So what of the remaining 50-70%?

A: We argue that lifelong, low-level exposure to the cocktail of hundreds of manufactured toxic chemicals both known or strongly suspected as MERCs in our everyday lives – from pesticide residues in food to chemicals in consumer products and in the workplace – is linked to ever-rising rates of the disease.  We want our governments and regulatory agencies to mark a new approach by acting on the BEST option that is to Ban, Eliminate, Substitute and Tag (label) all known and suspected MERCs for all our environments, living, working, – land, sea and air and our first environment, the womb.

A vast number of animal, human, laboratory and field studies, over decades continue to provide incontrovertible evidence for the role of man-made environmental and occupational toxicants in human diseases such as breast cancer.

Q:   What’s stopping this seriously neglected issue from ‘breaking out?

A: There are many ‘barriers to understanding and to attaining true prevention – stopping the disease before it starts.

Q:   Where does the responsibility lie?

A: The ultimate responsibility for primary prevention should lie with government – however current policy on primary prevention is hugely influenced by the cancer establishment which explains the absence of primary prevention. Equally important are the responsibilities for human, environmental and occupational health borne by science and industry.

On the basis of current knowledge, failure to act to prevent breast cancer is to be complicit in causing death and disease for this and future generations.

Official disregard for evidence supporting primary prevention makes it clear that the only hope of seeing ‘primary prevention’ enacted into law and implemented as policy lies with citizens.


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Breast Cancer Some Key Facts

Stopping Breast Cancer Before It Starts. From Pink to Prevention asks breast cancer charities, government and industry to act upon the evidence linking environmental and occupational links to breast cancer.

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