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Are You Really Helping End Cancer?

We’ve now left Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), but two friends just posted this article on facebook today. I had heard this before in posts on facebook, and conversation, but never seen an article that I could cite with any confidence. Therefore, since I have the article now, I’ll comment briefly on the topic.

Essentially, here is the rub. The popular Susan G. Komen Foundation claims to be all about research to help find a cure for breast cancer. This is an awesome concept. I am certainly all for it, especially since I lost my grandmother to this dreadful disease. The problem is that Komen affiliates give money to planned parenthood. What this has to do with research to find a cure for cancer, I am not sure. Since I am pro-life, I would not want my money to go to planned parenthood in any case. But there is a bigger issue here than just the funneling of money away from cancer research and to Planned Parenthood, even if it is not directly used for abortions.

The problem is that many of the activities of Planned Parenthood are considered to increase risk for cancer, especially breast cancer! Here is a list of the things that the author of this article lists:

  • Researchers in Iran have published results of a new study showing that women who have had an abortion face a 193% increased risk of breast cancer. This has to do with the interruption of breast tissue development during pregnancy. It is important to note that this (and other studies like it) have nothing to do with a person’s belief in abortion. It has everything to do with the scientifically undeniable development and growth of breast tissue within a woman’s body. There are many other studies that have been published as well that confirm that abortion presents increased risk to women for breast cancer, and that confirm that carrying a baby to full term provides a natural protection to the mother if the pregnancy is not unnaturally interrupted.
  • This week the New York Times reported that studies have now confirmed that taking these hormones not only increases breast cancer risk, but “also make it more likely that the cancer will be advanced and deadly” (New York Times, Oct. 19, 2010).
  • The number of young women on “the Pill” is alarming. Have these girls been told that “the Pill” has been classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency on Research for Cancer, a research arm of the World Health Organization? Are women in general being informed that any form of hormonal (estrogen-progestin combination) birth control (including “the Pill,” the patch, Depo-Provera, Norplant, Ortho Vera Patch, or any others on the market) are actually increasing risk for breast, cervical, and liver cancer?
    The sad reality is that any woman who takes a hormonal contraceptive for four years prior to her first full-term pregnancy increases her risk for breast cancer by 52%. It is worth noting that this same research arm of the World Health Organization also places “the Pill” in the same category with asbestos and cigarettes.

This is extremely concerning. These three things, or at least the first and third, are a big part of what Planned Parenthood does. The fact that these studies have not gotten more publicity is puzzling. If there is a refutation of this, I would love to hear it. Here’s the big problem: if Susan G. Komen and/or its affiliates are giving money that was donated for breast cancer research to an organization whose activities make women more likely to be at risk for getting the disease, how can anyone in their right mind contribute to them? I cannot. I don’t care if the $700,000 or so donated in 2009, according to the article, is a small amount compared to their budget. If this is true, the whole Foundation is tainted, in my mind. This is a huge conflict of interest. The Susan G. Komen Foundation now has a vested interest in not alerting the public to possible risk factors, due to their support of an organization that encourages the risky behavior.

It is also interesting to note, when deciding where to donate, breast cancer is only the second most common cancer (Prostate is first) according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and only the third most deadly (Lung cancer is first, prostate second). I’m glad that the Susan G. Komen Foundation is raising money and awareness for breast cancer, but I wish they didn’t seem to be working against their own purposes, and I wish other cancers got more press, since even more work is needed to bring the incidence and death rates down. What you do with this information is up to you, but as for me, and my money, I will be donating to cancer research through other organizations, and doing all I can to insure that my money will really go entirely to find a cure, and for all cancer, not just breast cancer.

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2 comments on “Are You Really Helping End Cancer?

  1. I had heard of this too. I looked it up, and there is an open letter from Susan B Komen Foundation regarding this (see link below). Their logic is that, for many low-income women, Planned Parenthood is the only place they can go for routine screenings and …mammograms. Therefore, they give money to P.P., but it is ONLY to go for routine screenings and mammograms, and is held separate from the rest of the operation.
    Like you, Sam, this still makes me uncomfortable. However, this was also investigated by the Catholic Church of America, who, after finding that money was going to P.P., was going to pull their own funding from Susan B. Komen Foundation. Their investigations proved to the Catholic Church’s satisfaction that money going to P.P. was truly only going to prevention and screening.

    http://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/Content/AboutUs/MediaCenter-2/planned_parenthood_winer_2010.pdf

    • The only counterargument that I can think of is that giving the money for cancer detection frees up money in the Planned Parenthood budget for more funds for birth control and abortion. Haven’t fully processed all of this, but thanks for filling out the picture more fully!

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