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Breast Cancer Action Condemns Inaction Accompanying the President’s Proclamation

BCAction Launches Annual Think Before You Pink® Campaign October 1

(October 1, 2020) Today, Breast Cancer Action, the respected activist organization and watchdog for the breast cancer movement, launches their 18th annual Think Before You Pink® campaign “We Can’t Be Pink’d: Say NO to Pink Policies.” This year’s campaign targets the lack of leadership from the current administration in addressing the breast cancer epidemic, from the President down to the leaders of four relevant agencies. Breast Cancer Action sees the far-reaching failures of the administration most blatantly in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The Presidental Proclamation Image with the Think Before You Pink stamp stamped over itThis morning a Presidential Proclamation was released from the office of President Donald J. Trump proclaiming October to be “Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”

Interim Executive Director Marj Plumb, DrPH states, “It’s 2020. We are all “aware” of breast cancer. Though the proclamation boasted about the administration’s crusade to ‘eradicate’ breast cancer, rolling back regulations and streamlining profit-oriented policies favors industry, not patients. If the administration really cared about people living with and at risk of breast cancer, they would enforce regulations that protect us from harmful exposures, stop approvals that may compromise our health, stop spreading misinformation, and ensure access to high-quality care for all people. Breast Cancer Action condemns the inaction of the administration in truly addressing the breast cancer epidemic.”

In the “We Can’t Be Pink’d: Say NO to Pink Policies” campaign, Breast Cancer Action outlines the lack of leadership from the EPA, FDA, NCI, and DOJ as resulting in the following: The EPA focuses on profit at the expense of environmental and public health; the FDA is not doing enough for patients and consumers; the NCI ignores the environmental causes of breast cancer; and the DOJ intends to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through a Supreme Court case that will be heard in November.

Dr. Plumb commented, “Each of these anti-science, profit-before-people approaches reflect the multi-faceted mismanagement of the breast cancer crisis that is initiated by the administration and imposed upon these four federal agencies. This is unacceptable.”

In 2002, Breast Cancer Action coined the term “pinkwasher,” to describe a company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease. In 2012, Breast Cancer Action first defined and targeted “political pinkwashing” in instances of a public official claiming they care about breast cancer without actually initiating or supporting policy changes that significantly help women living with and at risk of breast cancer.

The 2020 campaign coins the term “pink policies” and defines pink policies as political pinkwashing in action. They are policies, or a lack of policies, that fail to protect people living with breast cancer and increase breast cancer risk for all people, especially for women, people of color, and low-income people.

“The administration is not immune to our scrutiny,” Dr. Plumb stated, “and in fact, the administration’s lack of leadership and the pink policies put forth by the four targeted agencies constitute some of the most unabashed and potentially devastating forms of pinkwashing we’ve ever dealt with, in their far-reaching failures and systemic-level harms.”

For Breast Cancer Action, breast cancer is an epidemic, a public health crisis, and a social justice issue. “The administration’s paternalistic leadership reinforces systemic racism and gender oppression by putting forth policies that are especially dangerous for low-income women and women of color. These communities are already facing disproportionately less protection from toxic exposures, less support from healthcare systems, and less assurance that their breast cancer treatments will be effective,” said Dr. Plumb.

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Breast Cancer Action ( is a virtual, national education and activist nonprofit organization whose mission is to achieve health justice for all women at risk of and living with breast cancer. Breast Cancer Action has a strict conflict of interest policy and refuses corporate funding from any company that profits from or contributes to breast cancer. Launching the first day of “Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” each year Breast Cancer Action’s annual Think Before You Pink® Campaign demands transparency and pushes back on corporations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies that have lowered regulatory standards, undermined safety and efficacy in new treatments, spread misinformation and empty awareness, and limited access to quality affordable healthcare. To Breast Cancer Action, October is better known as “Breast Cancer Industry Month.”