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We’ve all seen advertisements and articles claiming that there is a “cure” for breast cancer. They flood the Internet, some authored by major publications, and others written by quacks who believe if you eat a certain type of tree bark, you will be cured of breast cancer. Trust me, Becky ate this bark, and it did not cure her breast cancer.
The well-known website wikiHow.com has even jumped into the cure game with an article published just last year entitled, “How to Cure Breast Cancer.” Yep, that’s the actual title and so this is one of the first articles that appears when you do an Internet search for “curing breast cancer.”
It details seven “methods” for curing breast cancer, with not a one an actual cure. The title is misleading, and the article has little to do with “curing” breast cancer, spending most of its words talking about medical treatment, surgery, chemo, and scheduling regular screening visits. The authors are very loose with their definition of the word “cure,” implying that if the chemo kills the breast cancer, you have been cured.
There are literally hundreds of these articles online, many of them as misleading as the wikiHow article.
On the other end of the curing spectrum, we have the natural cure websites. One of these is earthclinic.com and they have published articles claiming that supplements such as Turmeric, Flaxseed, Calcium, and even Baking Soda, may actually cure breast cancer. These are all great supplements (not sure about baking soda) and might indeed help to prevent breast cancer, but there is no evidence that these or the many other supplements that are out there will “cure” breast cancer.
Probably the most well-known event that is associated with curing breast cancer in the U.S. is the “Run For The Cure.”
These 5K runs are held all throughout the U.S. and attract tens of thousands of runners each year. Most of these participants have somehow been affected by this evil disease and want to show their support for finding the cure to breast cancer. They may be survivors or have had a loved one or friend lose their fight with the disease.
Many breast cancer foundations sponsor a “Run For The Cure,” and for those guys who don’t really pay too much attention to these races, they may think that, one, these races are bringing about a cure for breast cancer, and two, all the money raised at these charity events goes to diligently searching for a “cure.”
They would be wrong on both counts. In fact, little of the money raised at these events ever actually goes toward finding a cure.
Here is a statement from the website of Susan G. Komen, one of the largest breast cancer foundations and the one that actually started these races. Read it closely and see if you can spot the word that is missing:
“The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is an education and fundraising event for breast cancer. The series of 5K runs and fitness walks raises significant funds and awareness for the breast cancer movement, celebrates breast cancer survivorship and honors those who have lost their battle with the disease.”
Now, did you catch what is missing from their official statement? Yep, it’s the word “cure.”
The logical question then is, where does all this money go if not to “finding a cure?” When you have an hour, spend some time on the Komen website and see if you can follow where the money goes. But, be prepared to be disappointed.
The Canadian Cancer Society also has their curing event that they call “Never Stop Running for The Cure.”
In Canada, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths and they have mobilized a massive group of supporters who give and participate annually to help find a cure.
In 2019, they had over 85,000 participants and raised $17 million in communities across Canada. Here is their official statement about this event from their website:
This event unites an incredible collective of Canadians who are a force-for-life in the face of breast cancer and want to show their support. It’s an inspirational day that raises significant funds for CCS, the largest charitable funder of breast cancer research in Canada. CCS invests these dollars into ground-breaking breast cancer research, compassionate support services, trusted cancer information and advocacy on behalf of all Canadians. It’s because of the funds Canadians raise through the CIBC Run for the Cure that we know more than ever before about how to prevent, diagnose, treat and live with and beyond breast cancer.
Notice what word is missing from their last sentence? Yep, it’s that same testy word “cure.” If this Run was truly about “curing breast cancer” their final sentence would read:
It’s because of the funds Canadians raise through the CIBC Run for the Cure that we know more than ever before about how to cure, prevent, diagnose, treat and live with and beyond breast cancer.
The CCS did not hold their run in 2020 due to COVID, instead opting for this message on their website:
Our reimagined CIBC Run for the Cure may be over, but it’s not too late to help change the future of breast cancer. Our website will be accepting online donations until December 31. Together, we can continue to show Canadians facing breast cancer that we will never stop running.
“Donations” for what, exactly?
Unfortunately, many breast cancer foundations in the U.S. are not much different.
Look, it’s not my purpose to condemn these foundations, many of which are ethical and transparent with their mission. I only want you to be aware that the breast cancer industry raises many billions of dollars annually on their claim that a “cure for breast cancer is right around the corner,” and there is nothing wrong with you or I questioning their motives, especially when they ask for our support.
Simply put, if these organizations sponsor a Run For The Cure, then these funds need to go toward finding a cure, period.
But what about a cure for breast cancer? Will there ever be one anytime soon?
Nope. That’s according to the honest scientists, who say that we should not count on a cure in the near or far future. Instead, they say we should find a way to live with it.
Dr. Jørgen Olsen is head of research at The Danish Cancer Society, and he says that any claim that a cure for breast cancer is “right round the corner” is a “far cry from reality.”
“I think it’s an illusion to imagine that after millions of years of this disease we’ll suddenly find a solution. I don’t think that we’ll ever beat it, but I think that we’ll get it under control so that it becomes chronic but not deadly,” says Olsen.
Prominent cancer researcher, Mads Daugaard from the Molecular Pathology & Cell Imaging Laboratory at the University of British Colombia, Canada, agrees.
“We won’t find a cure, but we’ll probably reach a point where we have so many ways to attack cancer that people won’t die from it anymore,” says Daugaard.
Olsen suggests that “breast cancer could go from a deadly disease to a survivable one in around 10 to 14 years’ time.” Other types of cancer, such as cervical cancer, bowel cancer, lung cancer, throat cancer, and ovarian cancer might take a bit longer.
Many breast cancer foundations that seek to siphon off your hard-earned dollars won’t tell you this fact. They are too busy trying to line their pockets with your donations to tell you the truth.
We aren’t going to find a cure for breast cancer anytime soon, so maybe we stop donating to organizations who tell us they are “this close to finding the cure for breast cancer.”
Instead of a Run for The Cure, how about a Run for Prevention? On average, only five to six percent of the annual 300,000+ breast cancer diagnoses in the U.S. are hereditary. This means, in theory anyway, that 94 to 95% of all cases are preventable.
Don’t let anyone tell you that breast cancer is “not preventable.”
The other day I was at my mailbox cluster when one of my neighbors, who is an MD, drove up to get his mail. We don’t really know each other as our homes have some land between us and are not that close together. I was in the wrapped GTR and so he asked who Becky Baker was. I told him a bit about my foundation and my passion for preventing breast cancer.
He responded, “You can’t prevent breast cancer.” I have heard this statement many times before, usually from doctors. So, I used my standard example and talked about the man with lung cancer. I told him this man has stage IV and is near death. He started smoking at 20 years old, three packs a day for almost 50 years. The doctors tell him his lungs are burned so badly from his 50 years of smoking that he only has a short time left. I then asked my neighbor this question: ‘If this man had not started smoking when he was 20 and had not smoked three packs a day for 50 years, do you think he would have lung cancer today?’
He said, “No.” Like many doctors, he is a fatalist, and he is also very wrong. Breast cancer can be prevented.
We can prevent this evil disease. I always say that the best way to beat breast cancer is to not get it.
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(Reprinted with permission, BBF Publishing & Enterprises, Chapter Six, The Guy's Guide to Everything Breast Cancer, Rick Baker, all rights reserved, 2021.)