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Breast Cancer: Awareness, Activism & 'Pinkwashing'

Sonya N. Hebert
Official White House Photo

Are you seeing pink? October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month which means pink ribbons and pink everything are showing up everywhere - NFL players sport pink accessories, there are pink cereal boxes on store shelves and pink newspapers in the mailbox. But is that pink can of soup really making a difference to eliminate breast cancer? Critics call it "pinkwashing" and say it's time to move past the superficial awareness campaigns for what is a complicated and devastating disease. They say that visibility and fundraising alone isn't the answer to ending breast cancer and that this sort of marketing oversimplifies the disease with detrimental effects. We'll explore the nexus of disease, marketing, awareness and research in what some call our "feel good war on breast cancer" and learn about some of the politics and controversies over prevention and treatments.


Dr. Marilyn Sarow - Professor of Mass Communication at Winthrop University and Co-Author of Cancer Activism: Gender, Media, and Public Policy
Dr. Richard White - Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Cancer Institute
Dr. Gayle Sulik - Medical Sociologist, founder of the Breast Cancer Consortium, and author of Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women's Health
Laura Nikolaides - Research & Quality Care Program Director, National Breast Cancer Coalition