Where does all the breast cancer money go?

Yesterday, I told you about some of the scientific shortcomings of giving annual mammograms to all women over 40 in the population. But the breast cancer industry can be very convincing about the benefits of the one-size-fits all approach to mammograms. They act like an “Amen chorus,” shouting in an echo chamber. And they drown out the real scientific facts.

Recently, several courageous “insiders”–who are still stuck inside the belly of the beast–spoke out about the cancer industry. And what they have to say about virtually every aspect of cancer research, prevention, screening, and treatment will shock those who still want to place faith in this government-industrial-medical complex. (I will share all the disturbing details with you in an upcoming issue of my Insider’s Cures newsletter. If you’re not yet a subscriber to my newsletter, now is the perfect time to get started so you won’t miss this important issue.)

In the meantime, I want to share some of my concerns about the breast cancer industry’s leading cheerleader, the Komen Foundation. It’s the largest breast cancer organization in the U.S. And in the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2013, Komen’s total net public support and revenue was $325,202,243. That’s over $325 million.

Clearly, their stated cause–finding a cure for breast cancer–has a lot of public and corporate support. And that’s truly wonderful.

But where exactly does all that money go? And are all those races really getting us any closer to a cure?

According to their financial information, the Komen Foundation spent $49,526,380 on “research” in that fiscal year. Not bad. But it’s also not great either. They are not health professionals or scientists. And they have no original ideas of their own. So they simply follow along, supporting the agenda of the cancer industry. Figuratively speaking, they throw a few bad pennies after all the wasted tax dollars, looking in all the wrong places for a cure.

But here’s a problem…they spent more on self-promotion than on their version of actual research to prevent and cure breast cancer. In fact, in that same fiscal year, Komen spent $50,772, 037 on “fundraising costs.” So, it takes just over one dollar for every dollar that goes to research.

Plus, last year, its “non-profit” CEO got a two-thirds pay increase to $684,000 per year. Interestingly, that big salary is just about the difference between their “fundraising costs” and their research contribution. But donations are down. And they had to cancel some of their races. Either way, that’s still a lot of pink ribbons. And just think of how many overpriced pink Nikes you could buy with that salary!

Of course, this group of attention-grabbing marketeers (that’s what they are really successful at), with all their impressive scientific expertise, came out against the Canadian study about mammograms I mentioned yesterday. [link to: ]. They claim the benefits of mammography are “clear.”

But how can we trust them, when they spend more on “self-promotion” than on real research?

Maybe theirs was not an outright “whitewash” of the science. Perhaps “pink wash” is a better term. Besides, if you don’t really know anything about medicine or science to begin with, it’s easy to just go along with the, ahem, “experts.”

After all, the American College of Radiology (ACR) gives mammograms a “glowing” recommendation. But remember–radiologists rake in roughly $8 billion per year from mammograms. Of course, the ACR also rakes in tens of millions in annual fees from legally required training and accreditation in mammography. Without having to do any real work.

As I reported yesterday, routine annual mammograms don’t have proven benefits for the population as a whole. But every woman is an individual. With individual risk and concerns. So–what are your options as an individual?

First, always consult with your trusted, qualified doctor to make a personalized plan. Look at whether you have any of the real risk factors for breast cancer I mentioned in yesterday’s Daily Dispatch.

Secondly, consider thermography. It’s an alternative screening test that uses no painful mechanical pressure or dangerous radiation. It’s a form of thermal (infrared) imaging, so it doesn’t damage the sensitive breast tissue as mammograms can. Plus, studies show it identifies precancerous or cancerous cells earlier. And it produces clear results, which cuts down on additional testing.

Isn’t this what women really want and need?

I recently came across an article written by an MD who said she’s saddened every October, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, that thermography hasn’t caught on more. But its popularity has grown since my colleague in radiology at Harvard-Massachusetts General Hospital helped pioneer it in the 1970s.

I will give more details about thermography in an upcoming article. But in the meantime, ask your doctor about it–and know your real risk factors.

Sources:

1. “Annual screening does not cut breast cancer deaths, suggests Canadian study,”British Medical Journal, published on-Line, 2/11/2014

2. “Annual Screening Does Not Reduce Death from Breast Cancer,” Medical News Today (www.medicalnewstoday.com) 2/12/2014

3. “Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment in Cancer: An Opportunity for Improvement,” JAMA 2013;310(8):797-798

4. “Rethinking Screening for Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer,” JAMA 2009;302(15):1685-1692

5. “Cancer? Not!” Medscape (www.medscape.com); Aug 29, 2013

6. “Susan Komen CEO’s salary draws fire as donations drop, races are canceled,” NBC News (www.nbc.com) 6/10/2013

7. “Consolidated Financial Statements and Supplementary Information,” Komen Foundation (ww5.komen.org) 9/26/2013

 


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