FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Komen Con

by DOUGLAS A. BERG

Nancy Goodman Brinker, a pioneer of “cause marketing”, founded Susan G. Komen For the Cure in 1982, reportedly as the fulfillment of a deathbed promise made to her sister, a victim of breast cancer. In 1994, Brinker founded In Your Corner, Inc., a for-profit company that markets health products and information. In 1998, Brinker sold In Your Corner to AstraZeneca, the third largest pesticide manufacturer in the world, primarily through Syngenta, a giant global agribusiness company it owns jointly with Novartis.

AstraZeneca has had close ties to Brinker for many years. It gave $97,000 to Komen and its affiliates in the first 6 months of 2008 alone, and it has been a big presence at Komen’s Race for the Cure. AstraZeneca is also one of the largest contributors to Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The problem here is that pesticides cause breast cancer.

AstraZeneca solves the problem by no longer advertising itself as a pesticide manufacturer.  It is a “life-sciences” company. Ta da! Problem solved! Well, they still manufacture more pesticides than ever (substances that congregate in the sexual glands of mammals causing cancers, birth defects, etc., etc.,) but “life sciences” sounds so reassuring, yes?

Susan G. Komen has created a lengthy list of risk factors for breast cancer.  Nowhere in this list can you find exposure to toxins, probably the greatest risk factor of all.

Hey Nancy! Didn’t your sister ask you to cure breast cancer? Was her dying wish, “Please forgive them for killing me, pay yourself half a million dollars a year – and oh by the way please protect those poor pesticide manufacturers. They know not what they do.”

It gets worse. You’ve heard the famous slogan “The best prevention is early detection.” Think about it: If you get breast cancer, you didn’t see the doctor soon enough. Your fault. Next case.

No wonder AstraZeneca gives handsomely. The focus of Komen and pharmaceutical research is entirely on screening and treatment, not on prevention. In other words, “the cure” focuses on the symptoms and ignores the cause. Less than 5% of the total research dollars in this country are spent determining and eliminating the causes of cancer — none of that money, you can bet, spent by “life sciences” companies.

You have to hand it to AstraZeneca. Not only do they recognize and reward good propaganda when they see it, they also recognize a great market opportunity. Since the 90’s, AstraZeneca has bought up cancer treatment centers until it owns one of the country’s largest chains. With $13 billion in profits in 2011, it makes billions on oncology drugs, and it makes billions on pesticides and herbicides.

In business parlance, this is “vertical integration.” AstraZeneca causes cancer, they give money to charities that ignore the causes of cancer, and they “cure” us with their toxic drugs. An enviable business model–the worse the product, the more money they make.

And AstraZeneca isn’t the only culprit in this unholy alliance. General Electric is also a large contributor to Susan G. Komen. Mammograms have come under heavy criticism in recent years for needlessly exposing patients to radiation, and for yielding numerous false positives which often result in unnecessary surgeries. Unlike many doctors and charities, Komen continues to recommend annual mammograms. GE, not so coincidentally, is a huge manufacturer of mammogram equipment. Europe has a only fraction of the breast surgeries that occur in the U.S., and yet they have nearly identical rates of cancer deaths.

It is hard not to think of Komen as a pure propaganda ploy, and a great tool for supplying qualified prospects to the cancer industry. Is it any surprise that Nancy Brinker was a bundler of campaign contributions for George W. Bush and also a Bush Pioneer, a title that required making contributions of at least $100,000 to his Presidential Campaign? Is it surprising that the staff of Komen is stuffed full of right-wing extremists? Anyone surprised by Komen’s decision to drop Planned Parenthood?

If you are surprised, you’ve bought Susan G. Komen’s purported mission of “curing” breast cancer, rather than understanding the real mission of the cancer-industry and its supporters in the “life science” of killing insects with chemicals that also kill humans. Putting the spotlight upon this unholy alliance is making some very rich, very immoral people very nervous.

Expect a rash of corporate name changes and massive increases in public relations budgets if the attention lasts much longer. What one should not expect is any change in business practices.

Douglas A. Berg is a computer scientist and children’s book writer in Mesa, Arizona. He contributed this article to ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, which is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 28, 2017
Diana Johnstone
Macron’s Mission: Save the European Union From Itself
Jordon Kraemer
The Cultural Anxiety of the White Middle Class
Vijay Prashad
Modi and Trump: When the Titans of Hate Politics Meet
Jonathan Cook
Israel’s Efforts to Hide Palestinians From View No Longer Fools Young American Jews
Ron Jacobs
Gonna’ Have to Face It, You’re Addicted to War
Jim Lobe – Giulia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio
Is Trump Blundering Into the Next Middle East War?
Radical Washtenaw
David Ware, Killed By Police: a Vindication
John W. Whitehead
The Age of No Privacy: the Surveillance State Shifts into High Gear
Robert Mejia, Kay Beckermann and Curtis Sullivan
The Racial Politics of the Left’s Political Nostalgia
Tom H. Hastings
Courting Each Other
Winslow Myers
“A Decent Respect for the Opinions of Mankind”
Leonard Peltier
The Struggle is Never for Nothing
Jonathan Latham
Illegal GE Bacteria Detected in an Animal Feed Supplement
Deborah James
State of Play in the WTO: Toward the 11th Ministerial in Argentina
Andrew Stewart
Health Care for All: Why I Occupied Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s Office
Binoy Kampmark
The European Commission, Google and Anti-Competition
Jesse Jackson
A Savage Health Care Bill
Jimmy Centeno
Cats and Meows in L.A.
June 27, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again
Jonathan Cook
Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
Edward Hunt
Excessive and Avoidable Harm in Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Death of Democracy Both Here and Abroad and All Those Colorful Sneakers
Gary Leupp
Immanuel Kant on Electoral Interference
Kenneth Surin
Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall
Slavoj Zizek
Get the Left
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia Wants to Reduce Qatar to a Vassal State
Ralph Nader
Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions
Rima Najjar
Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate
Norman Solomon
Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?
Binoy Kampmark
In the Twitter Building: Tech Incubators and Altering Perceptions
Dean Baker
Uber’s Repudiation is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy
Rob Seimetz
What I Saw From The Law
George Wuerthner
The Causes of Forest Fires: Climate vs. Logging
June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail