From the Editor: Stopping Cancer Where It Starts

by Katrina Kahl

Since our founding, BCA has called for the true prevention of breast cancer by identifying and eradicating the environmental toxins that contribute to the disease. BCA’s “Stop Cancer Where It Starts” campaign is the foundation of much of our work, as we ask the research community to stop studying “pills for prevention” and instead focus attention on what in the environment is making so many people sick.

With this focus, we are excited by two recent developments: the publication of the Silent Spring Institute’s (SSI) study on environmental factors and breast cancer and the cancellation of the STELLAR trial. Our cover story highlights some of the key findings of the SSI study, which provides further evidence that many commonly used products contain chemicals that are associated with breast cancer, and asks for policies to be enacted that protect us all from these dangers.

The cancellation of the STELLAR trial was a major victory for BCA and our members (see BCA Cheers STELLAR Cancellation). The trial would have assigned women without breast cancer to take letrozole (an aromatase inhibitor) to reduce their risk of getting the disease. BCA has long opposed trials of “pills for prevention,” believing that any pill powerful enough to prevent breast cancer would most certainly result in another disease. The cancellation of the STELLAR trial shows that the voices of activists are being heard by policy makers, bringing about changes that put the interests of women first.

Inspired by these events, BCA is moving forward with Think Before You Pink, this year focusing on “pinkwashers”—companies that market pink ribbon campaigns but make products that are contributing to the epidemic. The article by Kira Jones, BCA’s summer intern, highlights the problem of automakers marketing pink ribbon products while producing polluting cars (see A Journey Into the World of Pink Ribbon Marketing).

Continuing with the theme of environmental toxins, the book Toxic Exposures, by Phil Brown, looks at the impact of environmental toxins on our health and argues that organized social movements are crucial in combating environmental diseases, including breast cancer. In her review, Jill Chapin discusses how the information presented in this book can empower ordinary citizens to take action to protect public health (see Book Review: Toxic Exposures: Contested Illnesses and the Environmental Health Movement).

We hope the articles in this issue will inspire you to take action to help stop cancer where it starts. BCA will continue this work, together with our members and other activists, until we know how—and have taken measures to—truly prevent breast cancer.

This entry was posted in Articles.