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Why I Don't Support the Pink Ribbons Project to Raise Money for Breast Cancer

Updated on November 18, 2015

We need a lot more than increased awareness

Pink ribbons are everywhere. Over the last 20 years, they've become the international symbol of breast cancer awareness.

You'll see pink ribbon calendars, earrings, bracelets, writing pens, nail files and running shoes, to name just a few products that sport this distinctly feminine design. You'll even find pink ribbon potato chips and cupcakes (more on these later).

In case you haven't heard, there's now a backlash against the ubiquitous pink ribbon. For many people, they symbolize the ongoing uphill battle against breast cancer. To others, though, they are offensive little pieces of fluff designed to raise "awareness" of a disease that, each year, kills about 40,000 women in the United States alone. This year, another 240,000 women will learn they have breast cancer.

Anyway, I'm part of this backlash. I refuse to buy pink ribbon products or anything with a pink ribbon on the label. There are several reasons why I won't.

The biggest reason is that this feel-good campaign isn't doing anything to help actual breast cancer patients, except, perhaps, giving them a temporary psychological boost if a friend decides to wear a pink ribbon t-shirt in a show of support.

What's missing is an awareness of some of the factors that could contribute to getting breast cancer in the first place, as well as any discussion that the current standard of medical treatment has failed many patients. Also, it doesn't appear as if superior mainstream therapies are on the horizon.

Pink ribbons don't mean better treatments.
Pink ribbons don't mean better treatments. | Source
The pink ribbon backlash.
The pink ribbon backlash. | Source

Natural Cancer Treatments that Have a Good Track Record

Pink Ribbons on Unhealthy Foods?

I'm not the only one who's noticed pink ribbons popping up on all kinds of processed foods, such as potato chips, as well as foods that may help fuel existing malignancies, such as cupcakes. There are an awful lot of cupcakes with pink frosting, or creme-colored frosting with pink candy "ribbons."

All of these confections are filled with sugar, which has a natural affinity for cancer cells. Actually, cancer cells consume much more glucose that healthy cells do. This is why patients consume a glucose drink before going for a PET scan to see if their cancer has spread. It's a well-known fact that sugar feeds cancer.

Unfortunately, pink cupcakes, right now, are all the rage.

Of course, there's the political aspect of the pink ribbon campaign, designed to raise awareness of breast cancer, as if the public needs any more awareness of this dreadful disease.

In the United States, breast cancer now strikes one in eight women. So just about everyone knows someone who has either lost their life it or is currently fighting for their life. So I'd say that everyone is already painfully aware.

Much of the money generated by the pink ribbon brigade is then donated to the early detection cause. This, invariably, means mammography. I won't get into the debate here about whether widespread screening is always a good thing, and whether it is wise to subject younger women to this test, which involves irradiating sensitive breast tissue.

Pink ribbons often found on unhealthy food.
Pink ribbons often found on unhealthy food. | Source

The Problem With Mammography

Mammography can help detect breast cancer, but it doesn't offer a cure. Plenty of women have faithfully gone for their yearly mammogram, discovered a cancer that was "caught early," and then submitted to surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. And they still die from breast cancer.

Obviously, we need something a lot better than mammography to stop the death toll. Instead of increased awareness, what we really need are safe, effective and non-toxic treatments that can restore health, as they have in other countries, such as in Mexico and in Germany.

Knowing such treatments exist would certainly lessen the fear factor. Being diagnosed is very scary indeed, because the available treatments are mutilating and debilitating. Chemotherapy, which is only palliative in the case of metastatic breast cancer, causes nausea, anemia, hair loss, lowered resistance to disease and possibly life threatening heart problems.

Even after going through these treatments, the outcome is still very uncertain.

Some women are so afraid of getting breast cancer, they opt for prophylactic mastectomy, even though they have no cancer.

Ideally, we need good prevention strategies to stop breast tumors from developing in the first place. Although mammography can detect, it doesn't prevent. Even worse, it may account for some additional cases. Breast tissue is very sensitive to radiation and radiation causes cancer.

Alternative Cancer Guru Bill Henderson's Book

Adopting a Healthier Lifestyle

The dietary aspect of breast cancer has long been ignored by the pink ribbon machine and the mantra of "think pink."

Most mainstream practitioners are not telling patients to avoid refined sugar.

There is also no attention paid to the possibility that dairy consumption may play a role in the development of breast cancer, a disease that's become an epidemic in Western Countries, but still rarely seen in China, where little milk is consumed.

Then, there is the problem of genetically modified foods, especially in the United States, as GMOs are not banned as they are in some other countries.

French researchers have documented an increase of breast cancer in animals that eat genetically modified corn products. It's a safe bet those sugar-laden pretty pink cupcakes, baked to raise breast cancer awareness, are made with dairy products and filled with genetically modified ingredients.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not meant to diagnose‚ treat or cure any disease or medical condition.

This article is only an opinion piece and does not constitute medical advice. The author bears no responsibility for treatment decisions. People with health concerns should consult a physician.


I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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  • Radcliff profile image

    Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

    I'm with you. I avoid those pink ribbons at all costs and never give to cancer charities. It's not that I don't want a cure for cancer, it's because--as you know--there are already several cures available. The FDA bullies those who come forward with cures until they are seen as total quacks. Cancer is big business, including the Susan G. Komen foundation. It's so unfortunate, especially when friends, loved, and others ones hear a cancer diagnosis and think that alternative treatments are crazy when many have been proven to be more effective than conventional treatments. Thank you for bringing this issue to light!

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    I do believe they have crossed the line from helpful to a dangerous lack of appropriate focus. I see a uptick in prophylactic surgery, but no uptick in radical change of diet and lifestyle.

    Bold and enlightening.

  • profile image

    Rayne123 4 years ago

    Well once again I did not get time to edit my comment , it did not take.

    Sorry about that, so if you can delete it , I will write it out a second time in a better fashion.

    Thank you so much


  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

    Hi Eric,

    Yes, and there is also too much commercialization with these pink ribbon projects. Thank you for reading.

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

    HI Radcliffe,

    Yes, it makes me a little crazy when I think of all the good alternative treatments that aren't getting the attention they deserve. I'm so tired of big business aspect of cancer, with little concern for the lives being lost. Thank you for your input.

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

    HI Rayne 123,

    Yes, I did delete it. I look forward to reading it again.

  • Carola Finch profile image

    Carola Finch 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    You make some interesting points. I am a breast cancer survivor myself. I have always felt honored and recognized when someone has a pink ribbon, but I don't think people really understand much about this cancer. Sometimes it looks more like an effort to look good instead of promoting awareness.

    I need to point out that a mammogram is only one diagnostic tool that oncologists use. I recently had a mammogram that was suspicious and came back for an ultraound (everything was fine). Ocologists used all sorts of tools - MRI, CT Scans, bone density scans, and ultrasound to name a few. You don't mention self-examination, which is very important. That's how I found my lump. I am all for natural remedies, etc. but I am also for any measure that will save my life.

    Frankly, on my side of the fence, I think the topic of healthy eating and cancer has been done to death in the media, and I got lots of that on my treatment journey.

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

    Hi Carola,

    It's good to hear you have recovered from your bout with breast cancer. I agree that I don't like the promotional aspect of awareness, because there's a lot of hype and a lot of profit to be made.

    Yes, mammogram is only one diagnostic tool. There is also thermography, which isn't used much unless you go to an alternative practitioner and pay out of pocket. Self exam is very important as well.

    I'm sure you hear lots of advice to eat well. If you want more....Just joking :)

  • profile image

    Rayne123 4 years ago

    HI Carola

    I am glad you survived and made it through, its nice to hear positive stories.

    Your hub here for some reason has inspired me to write a hub on charities and my words seem to have been on a roll with my comment here. I am sorry if it wasn't directed more towards your hub. It was like the Holy spirit had a hand in my words.

    So thank you and once again I am so glad everything turned out positive for you

    God bless


  • Carola Finch profile image

    Carola Finch 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Thanks for your comments, guys. Ifeel lucky to live in Canada and have (mostly) free healthcare. I don't see so much profiteering up here from pink ribbons.

    As for the eating healthy to combat cancer, guess we need it but.... gag!!! (just kidding)

  • soconfident profile image

    Derrick Bennett 4 years ago

    I agree with you on the pink ribbon on unhealthy foods. It really isn't helping.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    I am a huge advocate of Essiac Tea. (For those who haven't heard of it, please do a search.) It saved my wife's life twice when she struggled with hairy cell leukemia. But Radcliff is correct in positing that the FDA bullies any real treatment sources. It truly is about greasing the palms of corporate monsters. Yes, I'm in agreement with you regarding diet playing a huge role in either contributing to cancer or preventing/fighting it. The ancient ways of promoting and maintaining good health as well as fighting disease were made to look like quackery when, in reality, greed is a mammoth reason why our country is becoming more ill by the second. Thanks for writing this piece, and thanks even more for tolerating my rant. I thought I had recovered from my resentment of corporate manipulation, but I can see I'm just getting started. Aloha, my friend!


  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

    Hi Joe,

    Rant away. It's welcome here because it helps more people become aware of what's going on in the world of cancer treatment. Essiac tea is an absolute miracle. Thank you for posting and thank you for telling everyone about the wonders of Essiac tea.

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

    Hi soconfident,

    Thank you for reading and for commenting.

  • Mary Merriment profile image

    Mary Merriment 3 years ago from Boise area, Idaho

    I completely agree with your stand here. I've been saying stuff like this for years now. If you want to raise breast cancer awareness, then teach the public how they can reduce their risks rather than dumping money into a system that should be doing just that, but isn't. There are cures, that's not the problem. The problem is a broken, misleading system. Respect to you for speaking up like this. :o)

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    Hi Mary,

    Thank you so much for your comment. With any luck, this will raise awareness of a system that is broken, is very misleading and needs an overhaul.

  • healthylife2 profile image

    Healthy Life 3 years ago from Connecticut, USA

    I do think awareness if the first step to receive funds that can be used to look for a cure. If things are thrown in people's faces there is a tendency to forget despsite the fact that we all know someone that is or has gone through breast cancer. I do agree it seems a little hypocritical to put a pink ribbon on an unhealthy cupcake or potato chips. I think while people are waiting for this cure there should be much more support and campaigns for healthy eating and creating personal care products and cleaning products that are free from chemicals.Thanks for this thought provoking hub. Voted up!

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    Hi healthyforlife2,

    Thank you for your insight, which I value, because it comes from personal experience of the medical system. I really hope to see a world where there's less cancer to begin with. Then, if it happens, I would want people to be able to use their health insurance to go to a regular doctor who will give them something non-toxic to remove the threat, and then work with them to build up their immune systems so the cancer never comes back. Maybe I'm asking too much :)

  • profile image

    PinkRibbon 3 years ago

    I am breast cancer survivor and I like to see all the pink. I would be nowhere it it wasn't for all that pink fluff thank you very much.

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    Hi PinkRibbon,

    Thank you for reading and for commenting. I wish you continued good health.

    I'm happy that this article is generating comments that allow for differences in opinions. I respect the fact that you like the pink. Some of us don't.

  • profile image

    Jim 3 years ago

    I might be to cynical but I wonder if the money really gets to where some of these companies claim it is being donated to. I am not aware of any watchdog groups that monitor if the companies actually follow through. Also you have to wonder, how much does it cost to make all those items in pink for the month and could the companies just actually donate the money they spend on redesigns to preventing, fighting, an curing cancer?

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    Hi Jim, I'm very cynical because I don't believe the standard treatments, especially radiation and chemotherapy, are acceptable because of the severe side effects and the high risk of death. We're losing to many lives to cancer, even after treatment.

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    And thank you for reading.

  • profile image

    Samowen 2 years ago

    Well once again I'm sitting here reading opinions about breast cancer, breast cancer treatment and breast cancer awareness by a lot of people who have never had breast cancer other than a few unfortunate women who chimed in and are actually survivors. So , for those of you who have never had breast cancer your naïve and ridiculous comments about refusing to support anything pink is about as immature as refusing to ride in a car when it's raining because you don't agree with the price of gas. Guess what? Your the one that's soaking wet and nobody cares. For women who have had breast cancer that pink ribbon signifies a struggle you can' t imagine. We are talking about life and death here for some people. Portions of that pink ribbon money go to women who cannot afford yearly exams . Those free mammograms actually save lives though early detection. The next time you see a bald woman who's pale face and frail body tell you she's having chemo or radiation you be sure to pat yourself of the back for not buying anything pink. I'm sure you guys are all a lot smarter than any of the people raising money for breast cancer so why do you just step in and prove it instead just trashing anyone who does. Hopefully none of you little girls will ever have breast cancer affect you, your family or your friends. If you're wondering why I called you little girls it's because no one with an attitude as childish as many of you are expressing here could be possibly be old enough to even have breasts yet. Go home and tell your mamas what you have written. They will be ashamed.

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