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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Pinkwashing

10.23.2019 | Mary Ellen Eagan |

Pinkwashing: Noun. The practice of a company using support of breast cancer-related charities to promote itself and its products or services.

According to the American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts & Figures 2018-2019 in the United States:

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women after skin cancer.
  • There are more than 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, including women still being treated and those who have completed treatment.
  • In the U.S. in 2019, there will be an estimated 271,270 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in women and 2,670 cases diagnosed in men.
  • From 2005 to 2014, the most recent 10 years for which data are available, invasive breast cancer incidence rates were stable in white women and increased slightly (by 0.3% per year) in black women.
  • An estimated 42,260 breast cancer deaths will occur.
  • 500 men will die from breast cancer.
  • The 5- and 10-year relative survival rates for women with invasive breast cancer are 90% and 83%, respectively.
  • The overall 5-year relative survival rate is 99% for localized disease, 85% for regional disease, and 27% for distant-stage disease.
  • Since 1975, the breast cancer 5-year relative survival rate has increased significantly for both black and white women. While a substantial gap remains, especially for late-stage diagnoses, the racial disparity seems to be narrowing. In the most recent period, the 5-year relative survival rate was 83% for black women and 92% for white women.

At this risk of jumping on the “Breast Cancer Awareness” wagon, I offer the following. Two years ago, I was in the midst of radiation treatment for breast cancer. I am one of the lucky ones. At my annual physical, my primary care physician noted that I had missed a mammogram. She scheduled an appointment for the following week, which turned up Stage II cancer and the rest is history. I am fine now, thanks to the excellent care of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. I’m even participating in two clinical trials, doing my best to contribute to furthering a cure.

So as a public service announcement to my colleagues, friends, and clients (and the women they love): please get your mammogram.

Statistics & graphic provided by the American Cancer Society

About the Author

Mary Ellen Eagan

President & CEO

As President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of HMMH, Mary Ellen is responsible for providing strategic, innovative leadership…

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