It’s An Epidemic, Stupid! Factsheet

Women are facing a breast cancer epidemic in 2012 after more than 30 years of “awareness” campaigns and billions spent on pink ribbon products. It is time to put breast cancer front and center in the national debate and get serious about our government’s role to address and end this public health crisis.

During this year’s election season, when healthcare is a central focus of national attention, Breast Cancer Action is demanding meaningful action from legislators on breast cancer. We will not let our government outsource its job to protect public health to Komen and Avon, or other charities or organizations that are beholden to corporate interests. Nor will we allow our public officials to engage in ‘political pinkwashing’ by claiming that they themselves care about breast cancer without actually initiating or supporting policy changes that significantly help women living with and at risk of breast cancer.

Hanging all our hopes on our ability to “shop for the cure” isn’t getting us anywhere. In fact, we barely have any real results to show for the billions of dollars already raised and spent in the name of breast cancer. What we do have is a public health crisis wherein women are still diagnosed with and dying from breast cancer at alarming and unacceptable rates. It is clear that we must do much more than shop for the cure; we must demand real action because:

It’s an Epidemic, Stupid!

Each year, for the past 10 years, Breast Cancer Action’s Think Before You Pink® campaign has confronted the flood of pink products sold in the name of “awareness” by highlighting the hypocrisy of the worst pinkwashers– the companies or organizations whose pink products contribute to increasing our risk of developing the disease. This year we are calling upon policy makers and elected officials to support strong regulation and independent research.

As long as corporations dump pollutants into the air, the water, and the products they sell, and pharmaceutical and biotech firms care first and foremost about making money, we will need government action. It is our government’s job to monitor and regulate industry in order to protect public health. Breast Cancer Action demands that our public officials and elected leaders stop political pinkwashing, get serious, and endorse the 2012 Breast Cancer Action Mandate for Government Action.

Take Action:

  • Flood their inboxes: Demand that legislators from across the U.S. step up to end the breast cancer epidemic by publicly supporting the 2012 Breast Cancer Action’s Mandate for Government Action at 
  • Take over Facebook: Share Breast Cancer Action’s “It’s An Epidemic, Stupid!” logo on your Facebook pages to encourage conversation and encourage people to take action. 
  • Occupy this Election: Use Breast Cancer Action’s Critical Questions for Conscious Voters to evaluate elected leaders and candidates running for office.

Together, we will put breast cancer front and center in the national debate and demand our representatives take meaningful action to address and end this epidemic. Join us!


2012 Breast Cancer Action Mandate for Government Action

As an elected official deeply concerned about the devastating personal effect and public health impact of breast cancer in my community, I recognize and accept government’s unique and essential role in addressing and ending the breast cancer epidemic.

I commit to use my power in public office to represent the interests of my constituents living with and at risk of breast cancer by promoting legislation and public policy solutions that move beyond the limitations of screening and awareness to fully address and end this epidemic.

I commit to:

1. Initiate and support independent, government-funded research in areas that complement and supplement gaps left by industry-funded research. Areas of focus include and are not limited to:

  • Causes of breast cancer, including involuntary environmental and chemical risk factors outside an individual’s direct control;
  • New treatments that may be deemed to have insufficient profit potential according to pharmaceutical and biotech criteria, but which are potentially more effective, less toxic, or cost less for patients. Specific examples include prevention of and better treatments for metastasis, and clinical trials of promising alternative and complementary therapies; 
  • Eliminating inequities by identifying strategies to address the root causes of persistent health disparities that are not solved through access to health care alone;
  • Inclusion of breast cancer advocates, especially members of under-served communities, in designing and implementing research agendas;
  • Sufficient funding to disseminate and implement research findings so that relevant results get in the hands of breast cancer activists across diverse communities.

2. Protect public health through strong regulation in order to reduce exposure to known and suspected health harms from environmental and chemical sources, and act to limit industry influence in the regulatory process. Areas of focus include and are not limited to:

  • Prevent harms to public health in accordance with the precautionary principle rather than reacting to harm after it has already occurred; 
  • Shift the burden of proof to demonstrate product safety onto industry, rather than requiring the government, individuals and consumer health advocates to demonstrate health harms in order to regulate and limit exposures;
  • Implement new methods for chemical safety testing which are more efficient, affordable, and relevant to breast cancer;
  • Increase transparency and accountability at the FDA and EPA in the regulatory and approval process;
  • Provide sufficient funding to monitor and enforce regulatory protections of public health.

I will evaluate all legislation and public policy that affects women living with and at risk of breast cancer in accordance with these principles for action and hereby commit to put patients before profit and protect the health of members of every community.