Blog Post 7: Culture of Breast Cancer- Katherine Phillips

Women at risk for breast cancer which Is all women, are engaged in a battle to save our bodies and our lives. Until we arm ourselves with new intelligence about the cause of the disease, we will continue to fight blindfolded (Ley 2009). Here in the United States Breast Cancer is a very predominant health issue amongst our society.  Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, about 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime (NBC 2015).  Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women in the United States(NBC 2015). Each year it is estimated that over 220,00 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more that 40,000 will die (NBC 2015). Although breast cancer is commonly associated with  the illness of women, a lot of people are not aware that men can also suffer from breast cancer. Breast cancer is men is rare, an estimated 2.15 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 410 will die each year (NBC 2015).

Barbara Ehrenreich calls the “mainstream of breast cancer culture” a type of activist culture that has come to dominate the social, cultural, and political landscape beginning in the 1990’s and early 2000’s (Ley 2009). Mainstream breast cancer culture seems to focus on finding a cure rather than finding a prevention. In Leys article entitled, “From Pink to Green”, it speaks about this new culture and how it relates to eco-feminist views. Eco- feminists strongly believe that  instead of placing importance on treatments and finding a cure, emphasis should be on understanding that environmental and health damages that result from harmful products and treatments involved with breast cancer (Ley 2009).

Due to the prevalence of the breast cancer culture, and how it touches and effects so many peoples lives there are many strengths and weaknesses that come along with mainstream breast cancer culture. We know that there is a vast amount of awareness for breast cancer in order to raise money for research to find the cure. As mentioned in the short film the pink ribbon has become the face of breast cancer, everything associated with breast cancer is pink, that is their market. Breast cancer even has its own month in October. Set aside from that you can find something associated with breast cancer whether you are in the grocery store , department store, convenience store, or even a fast food restaurant.

The strengths that the mainstream breast cancer possess would be the ability to help promote and raise awareness. The weakness comes in when the amounts of money used to promote, raise awareness surrounding “pink”, and all the products  effects the actual motive for finding the cure, and etc.. In the short film “Pink Ribbon Inc.”, does a good job pointing these strengths and weaknesses  out.  Fundraising efforts have been effective, as breast cancer survival has increased since 1940 due to research that was made possible by fundraising (Pool 2012). As the breast cancer industry has grown, increasing amounts of money raised are being spent to pay for things such as advertising, taking money away from research (Pool 2012).  It is not known, there is no proven documentation, as to where all this money goes which I believe should be a requirement for any foundation.


“Pink Ribbon Inc” Directed by Léa Pool – Cine Politics-04-21-2012 (24:39)

Ley, Barbara, From Pink to Green.2009


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