Glossary and Definitions

Download Glossary of Key Terms


ENVIRONMENT means ‘surroundings’.

We use ‘environment’ to represent the totality of circumstances and conditions of the external and internal environments which ‘surround’ us from conception to death and which we share with all life forms. Environment is a complex aggregate of the natural and man-made; of physical, chemical, and biological factors that act upon and determine the growth, health and survival of all life forms.

FOIs = factors of influence

The acronym we use for various factors which have been shown to increase a woman’s risk for or her predisposition for developing breast cancer.  Some of these are:

Shift work; trauma to breast; exposure to synthetic and natural oestrogens and other potential carcinogens; stress; exposure to light at night; exposure to above-normal levels of background radiation emissions from manufactured items in common use e.g. computers.


The acronym we use for specific breast-cancer related properties of environmental toxics.

Environmental agents such as radiation or chemical substances which cause permanent changes in the genetic material carried in a cell (DNA).

Endocrine disruptors
Chemicals which mimic naturally produced hormones in the body and which disrupt or interfere with hormonal messaging systems that direct and regulate biological function and development.

Reproductive toxics
Substances or agents that cause adverse effects on the normal functions of the reproductive and endocrine systems such as fertility, conception, development of sex organs, foetal and early childhood development.

Any physical or chemical substance or agent that causes the development of cancer.


A commonly used term to describe those companies and corporations who, while profiting from market association with the pink ribbon and pink products and contributing a percentage of profits to breast cancer research, are also contributing to the disease itself as producers or marketers of consumer products – from cosmetics to plastics, textiles to toothpaste, cleaners to cars – which expose women to carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting chemicals and other manufactured substances with proven links to breast cancer incidence.


The generic term we use for the vast and ever-expanding multi-faceted industry which has grown up around breast cancer, incorporating all services, products, materials and technologies required for the orthodox treatment and management of the disease in all its forms and through all of its stages.


The collective term we use for those institutions, public health agencies, research bodies, medical associations, cancer charities, specialist media sectors and their representatives who serve their own interests by publicly and persistently promoting their commonly-held limited and limiting view of this disease.


The generic term we use for all man-made and naturally occurring chemical and metal compounds, materials and substances, which are found in a vast range of forms and locations in the environment and which have scientifically proven or strongly suspected links to the onset and/or promotion of breast cancer.


A strong and protective interest in an enterprise of benefit to a group or individual e.g. money, power, status, reputation.

The BEST Option – a From Pink to Prevention call:

We want to see implemented the BEST option approach to all known and suspected MERCs.

That is:

  • To ban all known and suspected MERCs from consumer products including food, workplaces and our environment. Though must be given to banning the manufacturing toxic products not intrinsic to life containing MERCs, one use disposable products and those which pollute from cradle to grave.
  • Legislated action to eliminate all traces of MERCs from our bodies, our environment, our workplaces, wildlife and our planet.
  • To substitute all known or suspected MERCs using the safest option in line with the REACH Legislation (link), and the COSHH hierarchy using initiatives such as the SIN List and GreenScreen.
  • To tag (label) all known or suspected MERCs in consumer products, raw materials and manufacturing processes.

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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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