Week 7- Breast Cancer Culture

I think that the topic chosen for the last week of class is quite interesting. I like that we are, as an entire class, discussing everything about breast cancer and the entirety of breast cancer culture. I specifically like the fact that we are discussing and are encouraged to have an open discussion about both the positive AND negative aspects of breast cancer culture. Breast cancer culture is a huge part of todays society, think of it, you see pink ribbons everywhere, every one knows or is familiar with the name Susan G Komen, every october, many companies profit off of selling pink colored merchandise in hope of revving up sales by making customers think that money is going into breast cancer research. But after watching Pink Ribbon Inc., we are aware of the darker side of breast cancer culture.

I would just like to share the first and foremost, breast cancer research deserves a hell of a lot more money than it is receiving right now. And that although some of these foundations are making millions and millions of dollars, and are only putting a fraction of the profits into breast cancer research is devastating. Not only to people who are suffering from this horrible disease, but to the families who are donating money because the subject and matter of breast cancer is very personal to them. I think that an interesting topic that comes up when talking about the negative parts of breast cancer culture is the fact that some of it has become an entire industry. Anywhere from pharmaceutical companies and more prominently, consumer good companies, have been taking advantage of how public the fight against breast cancer is and have decided to make a profit off of it, and what makes it more interesting, is that these companies produce goods that have harmful toxins in them that have been proven to contain cancer causing toxins in them, which makes it very contradicting (Holmes 2012).

One other article that I read by Deborah Doucette for the Huffington Post, hauntingly describes how she felt when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and going through treatment. That everyone she would see on the cover of magazines and on TV who were going throughout the same illness as her were seen as brave because they always still looked so perfect. She went on to describe the moment when she saw Robin Roberts on tv talking about her breast cancer and her mother asked “Are you sure you’re not just giving in to it?” (Doucette 2014). One last and quick thing that I would like to discuss is that forms of solidarity in terms of “Save the ta-tas” and “Big or small save them all” are over sexualizing a horrible disease that many women and men are suffering with (Langellier). All in all, I think that the intentions and motivations behind all of these companies making and effort to help with the cause of breast cancer research are pure, but that still doesn’t take away the negative outcomes that can come with them, especially the actual underfunding of the research.



Holmes, Anna. “Detailing the Problems of Breast Cancer Culture.” Https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/detailing-the-problems-of-breast-cancer-culture/2012/02/09/gIQ

Doucette, Deborah. “The Face of Breast Cancer.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 1 Dec. 2014. Web. 20 Aug. 2015.

Langellier, Kristin. “Breast Talk in Breast Cancer Narratives.” Breast Talk in Breast Cancer Narratives. 1998. Web. 20 Aug. 2015.




2 thoughts on “Week 7- Breast Cancer Culture

  1. I do agree that foundations should be spending much more of the money donated on research because without research how will we ever find a cure? But I also believe that these foundations are not given enough credit for all of they good they do and all of the strides they have made for breast cancer fighters and survivors. Even though only a portion of the money raised goes toward research, much of the money is spent on education, treatment, and screening, which can be very helpful for all women, those who have not and those who have had cancer.
    It was eye opening to hear about how much pharmaceutical companies profit off of the development of cancer. It is scary to think that maybe these companies are putting their own profitable gain ahead of the lives of millions of women. I believe that if the government were to step in and set strict rules for breast cancer foundations and pharmaceutical companies then maybe we could finally find a cure for this terrible disease.

  2. With my Dad currently going through prostate cancer, this weeks’ readings certainly hit home. I often have a hard time sifting through how I feel about the cancer industry. Of course I want to support For this cause, if it does in fact directly benefit the people affected by this awful disease, but this is often very difficult to determine who exactly the proceeds go to. For some reason, I often find myself mad when I see these cheap plastic goodies claiming to support cancer patients. I’d prefer for people to donate, or simply put up funds to go to the ongoing research of cancer rather than to wear some cute little ribbon that they don’t really know or care to know whether it actually goes towards research or not, they just wear this pink thing as some sort of symbol or status. I find it offensive when people sport these pink goods knowing nothing of what they are condoning. These companies taking advantage of consumers desire to help contribute to research (or at least appear to) is disgusting and something that I really can’t understand how these companies could live with themselves knowing they are taking advantage and making profit off of something that is the biggest killer of the modern world, and something that deeply affects us all.

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