Breast Cancer Activism
This is a really interesting article about the evolution of advocacy and activism in breast cancer. Blessedly, we have come a really long way since the words could not be spoken. I work with a number of women whose mothers had breast cancer and one of their shared strong memories is the enforced silence about the illness, and the almost shame that accompanied it. Although I personally think that the whole October pink movement is way overdone and ridiculous and all about marketing and profits, I would rather have that complaint than the quiet of the 1950s. I give you the abstract from the Journal of Womens Health and then a link (note that you will have to click on the pdf) to read more:
A Historical Perspective on Breast Cancer Activism in the United States: From Education and Support to Partnership in Scientific Research
Janet R Osuch, M.D., M.S.,1 Kami Silk, Ph.D.,2 Carole Price, A.S.N.,3 Janice Barlow, R.N., B.S.N., C.N.P.,4 Karen Miller,5 Ann Hernick, B.S.B.A.,4 and Ann Fonfa, B.P.S.6
Breast cancer remained a hidden disease among women in the United States until the 20th century. It was initially brought into the open with public revelations from individual women, which was followed by the development of support groups and ultimately the formation of political activist groups with various prior- ities. Those concerned with toxic environmental exposures as a potential cause of breast cancer organized, demonstrated, and lobbied for research funding and eventually became partners in the research that arose from their efforts. One representative example was the Breast Cancer and Environment Research Centers (BCERC) Project (2003-2010), supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The BCERC embedded a Community Outreach and Translational Core into its formal organizational infrastructure to ensure advocate involvement in the standing scientific subcommittees of BCERC, the first project funded by NIEHS and NCI to do so. The formal integration of advocates as partners in scientific studies focused on breast cancer is embedded in a rich history of action on the part of many courageous women. This article describes the historical evolution of breast cancer activism in the United States, which provided a critical foundation for the formation of BCERC. This description is followed by a discussion of BCERC as an example of the transdisciplinary research model, a paradigm that strives for inclusion of multiple stakeholders and increased interaction between scientists from a wide spec- trum of disciplines, advocates, and lay audiences in order to more effectively conduct critical research and to translate and disseminate its findings.