The BIG Business of Breast Cancer – It's All About The Money!

Did The Susan G. Komen Foundation Contribute To My Wife's Death?

By Rick Baker, Director, The Becky Baker Foundation

Did I get your attention? I hope I did. To answer my question, I think they did, yes. Now, please understand that my wife knew something was wrong six months before she was forced to undergo scans and was then diagnosed with stage IV, metastatic ER+ breast cancer. Had she gone to the doctor six months earlier, she would most likely be here today. So, she bears the responsibility for getting breast cancer and not taking care of it when she first noticed something was amiss with self-examination. Why didn't she go? She was afraid, because there is no cure. And whose fault is that? Well, Susan G. KOMEN bears some responsibility for not yet finding the cure to becky's cancer that they claim is their mission.

Do I sound angry? Well, I guess I am. Because, if the SGK organization had spent more than 15% of the $260+ billion dollars they have received over the past 25 years on really searching for a cure, instead of trying to maintain the status quo, my wife might be alive today.

It's all a mess. What was once a noble cause, "Breast Cancer Research," has become nothing more than Pinkwashing.

This term was coined by Breast Cancer Action, a nonprofit organization known as “the watchdog of the breast cancer industry.” According to BCA, the term is defined as: "When a company, such as Susan G. Komen, claims to care about breast cancer by promoting pink ribbon products, while at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease. Pinkwashing is when “cause marketing” loses sight of “the cause” and is more about the bottom line – profits."

Some examples of pinkwashing are:

• Kentucky Fried Chicken’s “Buckets for the Cure” campaign. For every pink bucket of fried chicken sold, KFC donated 50 cents to Komen. What is wrong with this picture? Well, fast food – and especially fried food – are a well-known cause of many diseases, including cancer. So, we have to wonder who at Komen approved this joint venture and whose interest do they really have in mind?

• Remember the perfume that Women created  called “Promise Me”? It contained unsafe chemicals that were deemed toxic and hazardous with negative health effects. The ingredients included galaxolide, an endocrine disruptor, touluene, a possible carcinogen and toxic to the liver, and coumarin, which is toxic to the liver and kidneys and used to kill rodents. 

• In 2012, Komen actually partnered with the Coca Cola Company to promote FUZE tea. Yep, Coca Cola. The same maker of Diet Coke, that toxic soda that creates breast cancer in many women. But, what about FUZE tea? Well, with 31 grams of sugar, high fructose corn syrup (genetically modified), sucralose, and preservatives, is this a beverage that should be promoted alongside claims to be researching for “the cure” for breast cancer?

• In 2013, Yoplait (the yogurt company) held a campaign called “Save Lids to Save Lives.” They donated 10 cents per lid with a special code which consumers could redeem. Yet hormone-laden dairy, sugar, and artificial chemicals have all been linked to cancer.

There you have it, Pinkwashing! Last year, the Better Business Bureau issued a warning to consumers about misleading or vague claims made on the packaging of pink-ribbon-festooned products. "Simply because a company puts a pink ribbon on its package doesn't always mean a good breast cancer charity is benefiting from your purchase," noted Michelle L. Corey, a BBB exec.

Some $6 billion a year is committed to breast cancer research and awareness campaigns. Is it any wonder that the disease has become a gold mine for pink profiteers and old-fashioned hucksters?

Mega breast cancer organizations like Susan G. Komen have proven, time and time again, that they are not concerned with preventing breast cancer. Only raising money by promoting it.

Nowhere on the SGK website is there any mention of eating healthy foods, getting proper levels of cancer-preventing Vitamin D, or other factors such as breastfeeding. These are scientifically proven ways to prevent cancer.

Please explain to me how any organization, especially the mega SGK, one that claims to be focused on preventing and even curing breast cancer, can go to bed with companies that sell highly-processed, artificial food, hormone-filled dairy products, and sugar/chemical-laden food? All of these products are known to cause cancer. How is SGK contributing to a cure? Are they not only creating more customers for the cancer industry?

Does this shock you? Consider their 2016 spending, based on $360 million in contributions:

37% education

18% research

15% screening

7% treatment

12% fundraising

11% admin

Less than .20 cents of every dollar you give to them goes to finding a cure, and maybe .15 cents goes toward prevention, although they are not real transparent in that area.

Here's a cool thing to do: The next time you talk to a KOMEN staff member, ask them what their annual salary is and where the money comes from. You will not get an answer.

So, what have we learned so far? We have learned that the industry's largest breast cancer organization is not really interested in finding a cure for breast cancer, or trying to prevent it. If breast cancer suddenly vanished because everyone was preventing it, SGK would lose over $300 million per year in contributions. Their CEO would lose close to one million dollars in annual compensation.

We need to change the national conversation from research to PREVENTION. We need to stop giving to SGK and start giving to organizations that are committed to prevention.

One such organization is Play For Pink. From their website: "We turn play into serious support. To speed advances in breast cancer detection, treatment and survivorship, Play for P.I.N.K. (Prevention, Immediate diagnosis, New technology, Knowledge) supports thousands of volunteers nationwide as they raise funds for research through sporting and lifestyle events. Their efforts raise $4.8 million annually — and 100% of that goes to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation." By the way, the BCRF is the highest-rated breast cancer organization in the U.S., with an A+ rating from Charity Watch and a four-star rating from Charity Navigator.

As long as dubious organizations such as SGK are in charge, there will never be a cure for breast cancer and the idea of actually preventing it will never see the light of day. RB

PS: If you want more, read this article from marie claire.com. If you're not already upset, you will be by the time you are finished reading this. RB