Action Center/Program Update: Summer 2016

Sahru Keiser smallBy Sahru Keiser, Program Manager

We’ve been busy in the program department since our last newsletter. Here are some highlights of what we’ve been working on. If you have questions, please get in touch!

Educational Forum on the Health Harms of Fracking and Dangerous Drilling

On April 18, 2016, in collaboration with other California health-based organizations, Breast Cancer Action hosted and moderated “Drilling Down Into Health Impacts: The Effects of Oil and Gas on California’s Communities,” an educational forum highlighting the health harms of fracking and dangerous drilling. Held in Sacramento, 90 health professionals, activists and legislative aides attended and we livestreamed for those who couldn’t attend in person.  Watch the recording to hear people’s stories about living next to toxic drill sites and fracking wells. Learn the science behind their experiences, and what we all can do to end this toxic practice.

Support the Lymphedema Treatment Act

Lymphedema is a common, debilitating side effect of breast cancer treatment. But not all women can afford the care they need. That’s why we have been working with our friends at the Lymphedema Advocacy Group in supporting the Lymphedema Treatment Act, which would require Medicare to cover medically necessary lymphedema treatment. Tell your Congress Member to support the Act today.

Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) Reform

For more than a decade, Breast Cancer Action has been working alongside other environmental health organizations to demand U.S.lawmakers reform outdated chemical safety legislation. While President Obama recently signed a new chemical safety law that brings some improvements, the new law falls far short of the strong, wide reaching regulatory reform that we need. Here’s BCAction’s full analysis of its shortcomings and we urge you to read and share it widely: Chemical Safety Reform Bill Headed to Obama’s Desk Lets Down Women With and at Risk of Breast Cancer.

So Much to be Done: The Writings of Activist Barbara Brenner

We are excited to announce the release of So Much to be Done: The Writings of Breast Cancer Activist Barbara Brenner. This posthumous collection of Barbara’s writings, edited by Barbara Sjoholm, chronicles Brenner’s work as a breast cancer and health care activism during her tenure as executive director and in the 2 years after her diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The book is a first-hand account of one person’s work to change the course of this breast cancer epidemic and serves as a how-to guide for understanding and responding to this health crisis through a social justice lens.

On May 23rd we celebrated the book’s launch with over 150 Breast Cancer Action members and friends in San Francisco. Celebration events are happening across the country over the summer and into the fall so look for an event near you. You can order your own copies of So Much to be Done here. Thanks to the generosity of Barbara’s longtime partner Susie Lampert, profits from the sale of this book will benefit Breast Cancer Action.

Spring Think Before You Pink®: A Closer Look at Breast Cancer Walks

This spring, BCAction members created quite a ruckus by asking important questions about breast cancer walks and runs, typically hosted by multi-million dollar breast cancer charities like Komen, Avon and the American Cancer Society. Thousands read and shared with their networks our new resource “4 Questions to Ask Before You Walk for Breast Cancer.” Our OpEd on the issue appeared in The Washington Post and BCAction executive director, Karuna Jaggar discussed the topic on NPR’s Here and Now. BCAction members shared their own walk//run stories with us, and Community Leader Jeanette Koncikowski had hers picked up by the online feminist media outlet Bitch Media. And Avon felt the pressure, responding with a public statement. But our work is far from done as long as these cancer charities continue to put profits before meaningful change that will systemically impact the lives of all women living with and at risk of breast cancer. You can help keep up the pressure by educating as many people as you know. Share our critical questions across your social media outlets–yup! sometimes activism really is this easy.


BCAction’s webinars explore key breast cancer issues and pair them with opportunities to take action. If you missed our most recent webinars, they are archived on our website and available to view here or you can click on the individual webinars below:

Cancer Moonshot Initiative

During his State of the Union address on January 12, 2016, President Barack Obama announced the establishment of a new National Cancer Moonshot Initiative to accelerate cancer research. The initiative—led by Vice President Joe Biden—aims to make more therapies available to more patients, while also improving our ability to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage.  In response, Breast Cancer Action is urging that along with a call for better treatments, the Moonshot Initiative needs to address the root causes of this disease so we can focus on preventing breast cancer in the first place. We need aggressive, public-health centered action to eliminate the toxic chemicals that increase our risk of cancer that we’re all exposed to everyday. No “moonshot” initiative to end cancer’s death toll will succeed without an emphasis on prevention.

Pick a date now to host a screening of the groundbreaking documentary Pink Ribbons, Inc. this fall

This award-winning film features our former Executive Director Barbara Brenner and provides a thought provoking view of the problems with pink ribbon fundraising. Introduce your community to an alternative way to think about breast cancer during October or use the film to share your own position with friends and colleagues. We can provide all the tools you’ll need (including the DVD) to hold a an event the is sure to get people talking. Contact Sahru Keiser at to get started.

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