Opinion: Komen alternatives for a cure


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The Komen controversy isn’t over yet. When the breast cancer research and awareness foundation pulled its funding from Planned Parenthood, it didn’t just provoke backlash; it brought other issues to light. For instance, in an Op-Ed from Wednesday’s pages, author and breast cancer survivor Peggy Ornstein points to a new report by Reuters on how Komen allocated its 2011 funds. Only 15% went toward research, less than the amount for fundraising and administrative costs.

In her Op-Ed, Ornstein also takes Komen to task for spending too much of its funds on promoting mammography, which does not provide a cure, and then urges readers to keep the pressure on Komen to do better. She writes:


From all of this, one can draw two conclusions. First, the same pressure that made Komen change its policy on Planned Parenthood needs to be brought to bear on its other policies, such as its indiscriminate partnerships (remember those pink buckets of KFC?). Alternatively, we could take our donations elsewhere. There are plenty of other, less well-known groups doing worthy, effective advocacy on breast cancer, groups that don’t shy away from looking objectively at the science of screening, that more aggressively push investigation into causes of cancer (such as potential environmental links) and refuse money from corporations whose mission, products or policies are antithetical to women’s health.

Here, Ornstein recommends three such organizations: Army of Women, the National Breast Cancer Coalition and Breast Cancer Action, which, she says, ‘fight[s] the good fight over the cancer industry, the politics of breast cancer, social injustice in cancer and environmental issues.’ BAC is also known for the concept ‘think before you pink,’ which addresses ‘pinkwashing.’ See for yourself:


An antibiotic wake-up call

The pink ribbon’s ugly new image

Why Chris Brown is no role model

--Alexandra Le Tellier