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National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) has been described as a "public relations scam", which is funded by the chemical industry to provide disinformation about breast cancer, i.e., that "early detection and treatment is the greatest chance of remedy", and not that we all should avoid the highly toxic chemicals (like organochlorines) which are known to cause it.

Some interesting facts about NBCAM (from a Breast Cancer Action fact sheet):

  1. One of the co-founders and the major funder of this 9-year-old promotional effort is Zeneca Pharmaceuticals (formerly ICI Pharmaceuticals),
  2. ICI (Imperial Chemicals Industries) is the manufacturer of Nolvadex (tamoxifen), now the world's leading breast cancer drug.
  3. "Between 1984 and 1992, the [U.S.] price [of tamoxifen] increased 75 percent, rising from 79 cents to $1.38 per tablet. From 1991 to 1992 alone, the price increased 8 percentâ?¦Zeneca's parent company [ICI] is based in the UK. In that country Nolvadex 10 mg tablets cost 30 cents each. Generic tablets are also available at 15 cents per tabletâ?¦Five generic versions of tamoxifen citrate are available in Canada where the best available price is currently 24 cents per tablet." (Congressman Pete Stark in the House of Representatives, June 14, 1993).
  4. ICI is a chemical giant, annual sales exceeded $26 billion in 1991. Nolvadex/tamoxifen is not their only product. ICI ranks among the world's leading producers of organochlorines, chlorine-based industrial chemicals whose end products can range from DDT, PCBs, Agent Orange to any one of a hundred other industrial or commercial compounds. (See "Harvest of a Silent Spring," BCA Newsletter #19). Research studies continue to associate organochlorines with increased incidence of breast cancer (See 'The Persistence of Pesticides,' p. 1 this issue).
  5. As the major funder of NBCAM, Zeneca/ICI retains the right to approve-or veto-all materials related to NBCAM. Thus it is worth noting that in none of these materials is the word environment mentioned as a possible cause of breast cancer.

For a detailed account of NBCAM/ICI, and the connections between organochlorines and breast cancer, see There's Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos, by Jim Hightower.

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