October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 1st, 2007 by MamaBear

Breast cancer. It’s one of women’s greatest fears, right up there with “rape” and “death of a child.” It’s not just bad ’cause it could kill you. It’s bad ’cause it could leave you disfigured for life. Women take great pride in their appearance, and losing a breast, or having one scarred by surgery (as I have; both breasts in case you were wondering), is a very real threat to an individual woman’s femininity.

Breast cancer is a subject very near and dear to my heart, for reasons I don’t want to talk about just yet, but I can assure you I take it very personally. It’s one of the reasons why I am such an ardent breastfeeding advocate and always will be. As long as I’m alive, I will use every ounce of my strength to make sure accurate information about breastfeeding and breast health is disseminated.

I am kind of sickened, though, by the lip-service I see for “breast cancer awareness” without real awareness of this disease. I am torn, because on the one hand, any kind of awareness brought to breast cancer is a good thing, but on the other hand, a lot of people are deluded into thinking that breast cancer awareness means slapping on a pink ribbon and calling it a day.

Most of the pink-ribbon paraphernalia that touts “Breast Cancer Awareness” don’t actually support breast cancer research, btw. What they really support is the person who sold them. (I sell all kinds of products in my two stores, but I make sure that a significant percentage of what I make goes to organizations that fund truly breastfeeding-friendly organizations. Otherwise, I’d feel kind of slimy asking for your money.)

Breast cancer awareness should always include the awareness of breastfeeding’s ability to help prevent breast cancer. The ability of breastfeeding, particularly extended breastfeeding (breastfeeding that extends beyond a year), to reduce the incidence of breast cancer, is amazing. Unfortunately, this kind of information is sorely lacking from a lot of mainstream literature for breast cancer awareness. There are several reasons for it, but it can be boiled down to one simple principle: people who have the power to make this information available to the masses have little incentive to disseminate that information (or they aren’t made aware of it themselves). That’s why it’s not very common to read an article about breast cancer awareness in a mainstream magazine (online or otherwise) and have it talk about how breastfeeding cuts the rate of breast cancer by whatever percentage… More than likely you’ll read about how to buy some useless pink object you’ll never need (which may even be bad for you) to promote yet another empty gesture.

I firmly believe that the breast cancer epidemic our society is witness to now is a direct result of, among other things, the medical establishment, starting circa the 1920’s, discouraging women from breastfeeding their babies (by encouraging artificial baby milk use and telling them their human milk was “no good.”) Of course, the medical establishment — doctors, nurses, hospitals — were encouraged by the dairy and burgeoning formula manufacturers to push artificial baby milk onto their patients, in exchange for money and/or free formula samples. They still are.

Would women still have breast cancer if they breastfed? Yes, most certainly, some of them would; the disease has always existed (my own great-grandmother had breast cancer and she breastfed six children — though the disease didn’t kill her). But there probably wouldn’t be nearly as many cases as we’re seeing now had every single woman breastfed.

Anyway, this is all a lead-in to say that in my International Breastfeeding Symbol Online Store (not the CafePress one — that one 100% of the profits I make will always be donated to the HMBANA Austin Milk Bank), 100% of the profits I make for the month of October will be given to breast cancer organizations hand-picked by me. So far I’m looking at The Breast Cancer Prevention Institute and Breast Cancer Action. I need to do more research on both before making a final decision, but even if I opt not to donate to either one of them, I will donate 100% of the profits to a breast cancer awareness/education/research organization that I’ve researched pretty thoroughly. With all the scams in the world, though, I need to be cautious, so I’ll have to, like I said, research some more. For the symbolic month of October, I can find no better cause to donate all my money to than true breast cancer awareness.

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4 Responses to “October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month”

  1. Katrina Says:

    This is Katrina, communications associate at Breast Cancer Action. Thank you for mentioning our organization on your blog, and for your support. Visit our other site at www.thinkbeforeyoupink.org to see our response to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We encourage consumers to ask critical questions of pink ribbon promotions, such as how much money is being donated, what the money is supporting, and, more importantly, if the products are making us sick.
    Thanks again and keep blogging!

  2. MamaBear Says:


    I’m glad you contacted me, and I am pleased to announce that all the profits made here: http://www.breastfeedingsymbol.org/store will go to Breast Cancer Action for the month of October 2007. Thanks for all the hard work you do to educate the public about true breast cancer awareness.

  3. Jefrey Dach MD Says:

    Fibrocystic Breast Disease, the Iodine Deficiency Connection

    A good friend of ours just went through an ordeal with breast cancer. The incidence of breast cancer has increased to 1 in 8 women, with 4,000 new cases weekly.

    You might ask, could there be a preventive measure which is safe, cheap and widely available that has been overlooked?

    The answer is YES , and it’s the essential mineral, Iodine, which was added to table salt in 1924 as part of a national program to prevent Goiter. It turns out that this same Iodine in table salt is the key to breast cancer prevention as proposed by the following list of prestigious doctors:

    Guy Abraham, MD, Robert Derry MD PHD, David Brownstein MD, George Flechas MD, Donald Miller, M.D.

    Dr. B.A. Eskin published 80 papers over 30 years researching iodine and breast cancer, and he reports that iodine deficiency causes breast cancer and thyroid cancer in humans and animals. Iodine deficiency is also known to cause a pre-cancerous condition called fibrocystic breast disease.

    W.R. Ghent published a paper in 1993 which showed iodine supplementation works quite well to reverse and resolve fibrocystic changes of the breast, and this is again the subject of a current clinical study.(Can J Surg. 1993 Oct;36(5):453-60.)

    Despite its obvious potential, not much has been done with Iodine treatment over the past 40 years in the United States. Since iodine isn’t patentable and is therefore unlikely to be profitable to market, there is no money to fund studies for “FDA approval”. However, FDA approval is not required since Iodine is already an additive to table salt at the supermarket.

    For more information see my newsletter


    Jeffrey Dach MD

  4. MamaBear Says:

    Dr. Jefrey Dach,

    That is really fascinating… When I was a teenager and found out I had fibrocystic breast disease (after a biopsy), I spoke to an older woman who told me a doctor gave her some interesting advice about how to treat her own breast lump… She said he told her to shine a very intense light on her affected breast and then to rub iodine solution all over it. She told me she followed his instructions to the letter, and that after enough times, the lumps in her breasts went away. I never could get an explanation from anyone about why he recommended this or how it worked when she followed the instructions… It’s just bizarre that I should hear from a completely separate source about the iodine-fibrocystic breast disease connection.

    Thanks for sharing! :)

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