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March 26, 2016
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1 Introduction
Breast Cancer Action



Breast Cancer Action (BCA) is a national grassroots education and advocacy organization dedicated to supporting people living with breast cancer and encouraging the support of breast cancer research and awareness. It was founded in 1990 by Elenore Pred, Susan Claymon, and Linda Reyes. Based in San Francisco, BCA is known for its Think Before You Pink campaign, launched in 2002, which encourages consumers to ask critical questions before buying a pink ribbon product.

BCA criticizes National Breast Cancer Awareness Month as Breast Cancer Industry Month , because some corporate sponsors benefit financially from increased screening for breast cancer, or produce carcinogenic chemicals.

Breast Cancer Action began in 1990 when Elenore Pred, who had metastatic breast cancer, became frustrated with the lack of information and hard data about the causes and treatments of her condition. Along with other women also suffering from metastatic breast cancer, she founded Breast Cancer Action to be an organization of breast cancer survivors and their supporters.

Since Pred's death in October 1991, BCA has continued as an advocacy group dedicated to breast cancer activism at local, state and federal levels. The organization sees breast cancer not as an individual issue but a "national public health emergency." Their work has included an emphasis on more effective and less toxic breast cancer treatments that keep the needs of the public interest first; decreasing involuntary environmental exposures that put people at increased risk for breast cancer; and creating awareness that not only genes but also social injustices like political, economic, and racial inequities can lead to imbalances in outcomes of the disease.

BCA advocates for policy changes in three priority areas:

  • Treatment improvements, by shifting the balance of power at the FDA away from the pharmaceutical industry and towards the public interest while advocating for more effective and less toxic treatments.

  • Environmental integrity, by decreasing involuntary environmental exposures that put people at risk for breast cancer.

  • Inequities by creating awareness that it is not just genes, but social injustices - political, economic, and racial inequities - that lead to disparities in breast cancer outcomes.

It also provides information and "organizes people to do something besides worry".

It supports structural changes to society as a means of stopping breast cancer.


  • General Mills announced that it would remove the cancer-linked synthetic growth hormone, rBGH, from Yoplait Yogurt

  • Dannon followed suit, announcing they will be rBGH-free by 2010. Together General Mills and Dannon represent two-thirds of the U.S. dairy market

  • Congress funds Comparative Effectiveness Research effort as part of the federal economic stimulus

  • BCA's victorious 2008 Think Before You Pink campaign, "Yoplait: Put a Lid on it" won the first place 2009 BENNY Award from the Business Ethics Network. The annual BENNY Awards recognize outstanding corporate campaign victories.


  • Activated 1500 people to take action against pinkwashing just two weeks into its Think Before You Pink campaign

  • Met with Genentech (Avastin) and Amgen (anemia drugs) representatives to air concerns about their products

  • Successfully advocated for removal of phthalates in cosmetics made by Secret, Arrid and Christian Dior

  • Think Before You Pink Critical Questions appear in promotional literature and media statements from Komen and the American Cancer Society


  • Initiated First National Breast Cancer Research Summit, a gathering of funders, scientists, and key activists from around the nation

  • Think Before You Pink web site was Yahoo! pick of the month for October

  • Based on cost and lack of effectiveness, opposed approval of Avastin as a treatment for breast cancer

  • Successfully argued for cancellation of STELLAR Trial, maintaining that pills for prevention always results in disease substitution

  • Published initial Aromatase Inhibitor Side-effects Survey results


  • Founding member of CHANGE, a coalition of organizations working to create a better system for regulating toxic chemicals in California

  • Fenton Communications featured BCA's Think Before You Pink campaign as a case study in its presentation, ???Because It???s Worth It: 10 Ways to Measure the Impact of Your Communications???

  • BAWG, co-founded by BCA, wins "Pioneers of Precaution" award at the First National Conference on the Precautionary Principle in Baltimore, MD


  • BCA???s California Safe Cosmetics Act of 2005 (SB 484) enacted

  • BCA's Think Before You Pink campaign inspired Komen and Breast Cancer Research Foundation to post their own questions consumers should ask before buying pink ribbon products

  • Successfully advanced dialogue among stakeholders concerning the California Biomonitoring Program (SB 1379), monitoring presence and concentration of chemicals in California

For The Record

  • 2002 - Research confirms BCA's long-standing concerns about hormone therapy and breast cancer risk

  • 1998 - BCA opposes use of tamoxifen for reduction of risk of breast cancer in healthy women

  • 1998 - BCA successfully calls for release of data showing high dose chemotherapy/bone marrow transplant does not work for breast cancer patients

  • Breast Cancer Action official site

  • Think Before You Pink official site

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Breast Cancer Action".

Last Modified:   2010-11-25

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