I Will Not Be Pinkwashed: Why I Do Not Support Susan G. Komen for the Cure
[I'll admit. I'm a little nervous to put this one out there. The closest I've come to writing anything super controversial has been standing up for my beloved, saturated-fat-laden butter. And this is obviously something much more serious. But it's something I feel I absolutely have to say, and I hope you'll listen with an open mind.]
October is national “Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”
It’s that magical time of the year when shades of pale pink are plastered onto every product, every container, every conceivable gadget or gizmo that the Susan G. Komen Foundation can get their hands on.
When that iconic symbol of overlapped ribbon is supposed to adorn every man, woman, and child who ever had a mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, niece or aunt who faced the horrifying struggle of breast cancer.
But I am not buying it.
Susan G. Komen: For Cure or Con?
Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a multi-million-dollar company with assets totaling over $390 million dollars. Only 20.9% of these funds were reportedly used in the 2009-2010 fiscal year for research, “for the cure.” Where does the rest of the money go? Let’s have a look. As you can see, the largest chunk of the pie is going toward “Public Health Education.” More on that later, but for now I’d like to take a look at the millions spent on “administrative costs.”
Show Me the Money
Here is a section from Susan G. Komen’s Form 990 from 2008 showing the salaries of some of their highest-paid employees. I’ve included the heading of the page to show what the numbers in the columns represent, but cut out the board members listed as having no salary. Er, “Reportable” salary…
Gary must have gotten a promotion since then, though. Because while it still lists his position as VP Development from 10/08 – 3/09, his salary from 2009 was $417,109. Oh, plus $18,091 in change.
I don’t know about you, but I would never expect directors of a charitable “non-profit” organization to make more than most doctors, lawyers, or even politicians.
Screenshot from their 2009 Form 990, straight from Komen.org:
Curiously, these were the only employees listed in this type of form, similar to the 2008 one. Other employees were not listed with their position title.
In all, about 11% of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s annual revenue goes toward employee salaries. And that adds up to a lot of money. But what about the rest?
“Public Health Education”
The area in which Komen spends the highest percentage of funds is in “public health education,” in other words, bringing awareness to the population of the disease itself and the importance of screening for early detection of breast cancer. While that may be considered a worthwhile goal to some, it’s important to realize that Komen stands to profit off of spreading that message.
They admit to about 10% of funds used for “fundraising,” but let’s be honest, the pink-ribbon-plastered “awareness” and”education” campaigns are often little more than a highly effective form of advertising — which in turn, brings in Komen’s millions. In other words, a way to raise funds, for themselves, while getting a pat on the back for their efforts to “save lives.”
One thing that doesn’t quite compute with me is how Komen’s mission of finding a “cure” — after all, that is their name — is congruent with putting over half their money toward promoting awareness and screening, for early detection of breast cancer. It’s not curing breast cancer to be aware that you could get it, nor is finding out that you have cancer and treating it in the early stages in hopes of entering into remission. That’s not a cure. Yet that is Komen’s largest promoted focus.
So what do they do to accomplish their mission of finding a cure for breast cancer?
Research “for the Cure”
The first thing that pops into my mind when I think of a charity giant such as Komen funding research to prevent disease, is pouring money into Big Pharma’s pocketbook. After all, our only hope of a cure for cancer is that magical drug or vaccine that pharmaceutical corporations will one day rescue us all with, right?
Of course not.
But the reality that research in the conventional medical world is put toward, well, conventional medicine (allopathic drugs) remains. For me, this begs the question — where exactly does your research funding go, Komen?
SGK had the following to say regarding accusations that their organization funds pharmaceutical research:
“It’s been reported that Susan G. Komen for the Cure provides funding to pharmaceutical companies. That is simply not true. We have never funded pharmaceutical company research – our grants, totaling $450 million, have gone to research institutions in the U.S. and abroad.” – Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Ohh… okay. So you would never provide funding to pharmaceutical companies that sell disease-promoting, toxic chemical drugs to cancer patients.
But take their money? Sure!
“The Komen Foundation owns stock in General Electric, one of the largest makers of mammogram machines in the world. It also owns stock in several pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca (now AzkoNobel).
AstraZeneca has long been a Komen booster, making educational grants to Komen and having a visible presence at the Race For the Cure. At the 1998 Food and Drug Administration hearings, the Komen Foundation was the only national breast cancer group to endorse the AstraZeneca cancer treatment drug tamoxifen as a prevention device for healthy but high-risk women, despite vehement opposition by most other breast cancer groups because of its links to uterine cancer.
The organization’s biggest sponsors are — surprise! — the corporations that profit from cancer through chemotherapy and radiation. To them, Komen for the Cure isn’t really about finding a cure for cancer; it’s about promoting cancer so that they can sell more drugs and radiotherapy that keeps more patients locked into a cycle of dependence on toxic cancer treatments.” -Well put, Natural News.
(Did you catch that bit about poisoning healthy women with the carcinogenic cancer drug, Tamoxifen, as a preventative measure? Yeah. Moving on…)
Susan G. Komen does indeed provide millions of dollars to fund research — but what exactly are they researching with those grants? One blogger diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer who had serious doubts of the intentions of the Komen foundation, dug through the research grants herself, and found the following information about how Komen’s research money is spent:
Now, of those categories being researched, which sound like they are actually focused on curing breast cancer?
Early detection? No.
Treatment? No. (that would be drugs used to treat symptoms.)
The only conceivable categories related to finding a cure for the cancer being researched would be etiology (the study of causation), survivorship, model systems, and biology.
So to break it down even further, Susan G. Komen for the Cure only spends a possible 53% of it’s research funding for a cure, or — about 11% of total revenue. Donate a dollar “for the cure?” Only about a dime of that will go toward research that might actually be designed to cure cancer, through allopathic medicine that is driven by the pharmaceutical system.
Incredibly, this actually happened.
Komen receives over $55 million dollars in annual revenue from corporate sponsorships, from such health-minded companies as Coca Cola, General Mills, and KFC — that’s right — the fast food joint contributing to American society with buckets of diseased and tortured birds fried in genetically modified toxins. Buy a bucket of junk food, and pretend as though you’re helping to save lives while you slowly take your own!
Pink ribbon products are everywhere. But how much good is it really doing to support the fight against breast cancer by purchasing them?
As it turns out, not much.
If only about a dime of every dollar is spent on research for a cure, then just imagine how miniscule of a contribution is being made for that cause when such a small portion of the pink proceeds go toward Komen as a whole.
Pinkwashers are clearly not just in it for the noble cause. The companies that sell these products are well aware that promoting themselves as supporters of breast cancer awareness leads to better public perception and increased profits.
Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy explains that, “The makers of some pink products donate proceeds only for a limited time. These products may command a higher price tag, and sometimes they will remain on sale after the donation period ends — even with the higher price.”(L.A. Times)
In addition to limiting the amount of time that portions of pinkwashed proceeds will be donated, product manufacturers also usually put a cap on the total amount of money that will be donated. If that limit has already been reached by the time you buy your pink product, your purchase isn’t contributing a thing. But the company sponsoring Komen continues to proudly sport the pink persuasion anyway, in hopes that you’ll buy into it.
**The Breast Cancer Action organization has created a project to educate consumers about the deceitfulness of pinkwashing, or cause marketing of pink ribbon products. They promote awareness of this issue with the Think Before You Pink campaign, aimed especially at highlighting the pink products which themselves are cancer-causing or dangerous to your health, such as toxic cosmetics, rBGH-laced dairy products, and air-polluting cars. The BCA is doing great work toward fighting the pinkwashing scam and is actually a breast cancer organization I believe should be supported, if any!
Bullies “For the Cure”
Did you know that Susan G. Komen for the Cure spends nearly a million dollars annually suing small charities over the use of the word “cure” in their charitable endeavors? Komen’s general counsel, Jonathan Blum, had the following to say regarding a legal battle of Komen’s which threatened to shut down a small lung cancer organization for the use of the word “cure” in their name:
“We see it as responsible stewardship of our donor’s funds.”
Cause when I donate money to a charity, I expect them to use it to dismantle other charities that don’t have millions of dollars to spend on harassing others. Thanks so much for being a good steward of my donations, SGK.
Do we really need breast cancer awareness anyway?
In my not-so-humble opinion, cancer “awareness” is a ridiculous goal invented by deceitful organizations such as SGK to profit off of the American public — make sure you’re “aware” that you could potentially get breast cancer! So that you can go and get yearly mammograms that cause cancer (and make lots of money for us!), then once you get it, you can come right back for unbelievably expensive and toxic treatments that will only keep you alive long enough to squeeze out from you every last penny that you’re worth!!
Sorry. This stuff really bothers me.
The only thing I would advocate as far as the “awareness” train goes would be the importance of self breast exams. Obviously, you should always be looking out for changes in your body that might signal illness. But if I were to discover anything suspicious, I would be very, very careful about just who I put my potentially ill body in the hands of — I certainly would not want a conventional doctor to swoop in like a vulture and push a bunch of dangerous and nonsensical “treatments” down my throat that will only make me sicker and cause me to live miserably.
STOP the lies — there already are cures for cancer.
Breast cancer, along with other cancers, are being treated and cured successfully every day with alternative therapies, and have been for quite some time. But do big corporations and organizations like Susan G. Komen stand to profit off of those treatments? Of course not. So we aren’t hearing about them!
I’ll soon be sharing some of the more successful holistic, alternative cancer treatments (hint: most of them are centered around real food NUTRITION!) that have been curing patients without a single dose of chemotherapy or radiation. Or a pinkwashed product!
But even modern advancements in safe and effective cancer cures are being found — and thwarted by the FDA and the pharmaceutical giants (in which Komen has monetary stock, remember?) which support such government agencies.
I strongly encourage everyone to watch the documentary film, Burzynski the Movie: Cancer is Serious Business, for an incredibly eye-opening look into what happens when cancer cures are actually found (their creators are faced with a prison sentence!). The film documents the work of Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, a medical doctor and Ph.D. biochemist who has discovered the genetic mechanism that can cure most human cancers. For a limited time, you can actually watch the film in its entirety online for free. Do it!
Prevention is the best cure
More importantly, what the medical establishment fails to recognize is that cancer is largely preventable. And Susan G. Komen for the Cure is no exception to such ignorance. There are no mentions of eating a healthy foods, getting proper levels of cancer-preventing Vitamin D, or cutting out sugar — the substance that feeds cancer cells — in any of their “public health education” efforts. Even though these are scientifically proven ways to prevent cancer.
This is not the way to fight breast cancer!
No. We are simply told to accept that our likelihood of getting breast cancer amounts to little more than a genetic rolling of the dice. So we must continue to “hope” for a cure, in case the die are cast unfavorably against us.
The harsh reality is that Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a major player in the multi-billion dollar industry that is cancer. If a cure for cancer is found (or acknowledged), the industry would collapse, and those billions won’t be made anymore.
You’re free to draw your own conclusions, but as for me, I don’t believe that Susan G. Komen’s mission is truly “for the cure.”
What are your thoughts on Susan G. Komen for the Cure? How would you like to see breast cancer awareness changed in this country? What’s the message we really ought to be spreading about this deadly disease?