By Jayla Burton, Program Manager
What does scientific integrity mean for breast cancer? A LOT.
All people deserve access to evidence-based, patient-centered information so they can fully engage in their healthcare and make informed decisions. We need this same evidence-based information in order to create good policy that will protect people living with and at risk of breast cancer.
Here’s a play-by-play explanation of how federal agencies directly impact breast cancer policy:
Food and Drug Administration (FDA): The FDA is responsible for approving breast cancer therapies and devices. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, political incentives were used to speed up the accelerated approval process, a process BCAction is already critical of, impacting the process for determining the safety of other drugs and devices, including those used for breast cancer. The leaders of the agency have been known to favor industry profit over the people they are supposed to protect. This can lead to decisions being made based on pressure from big pharma and lobby groups, as opposed to the evidence-based information that would show that a therapy is more effective, less toxic, and/or more affordable than what’s currently on the market.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Good policy is absolutely necessary to protect the public from involuntary exposures to environmental toxins that may increase breast cancer risk. The former administration tried to pass the Censored Science Rule, an attempt that if successful, would have disallowed the EPA from using many high-quality, peer-reviewed studies which are the basis of important protective regulations. The Scientific Integrity Act will ensure these findings aren’t suppressed to fit political agendas.
National Cancer Institute (NCI): When it comes to evaluating the relationship between environmental exposures and breast cancer risk, the NCI is ignoring multiple streams of evidence, including the fact that many chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals do cause cancer in people. Currently these laboratory studies remain the best method for identifying potential human carcinogens in order to make rational decisions about exposure safety, yet the agency is not taking that into consideration when compiling information about breast cancer risk for the public.
Science has been censored, undercut, and manipulated, hampering the development of strong policies that put patient safety before politics. Congress must pass the Scientific Integrity Act and President Biden must sign it into law – take action today!