Why are you beyond the pink?

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness month, when pink ribbons blanket everything from cosmetics to food cans, urging us to be aware of breast cancer. But when 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with the disease, how much more awareness do we need? It's time to go beyond the pink to prevention.

Vim and Vigor

Hello All,

I am a breast cancer survivor of 8 years and living life now with vim and vigor.  Some, if not all, will understand what I am about to say, “having breast cancer was one of the best things to happen to me.” OMG! I survived my journey, my adventures and experiences I can share with others to help them with their journey; I am passionate and delighted to pay it forward.

My journey, adventure and experiences have led me on paths to ask, to question, to read, investigate, to know, to be proactive in my health by not solely relying on advertisements, what is sold on the store shelves, what the doctor says I “should” do or what medications I “should take.

I am an advocate and entrepreneur of my health and I love to share information and articles I find to help lead you to consider, ponder on, to read, to know more so you can have better health and well being.

I didn’t know there were toxic ingredients in products I grew up with.  I was shocked to learn that formaldehyde is a preservative used in baby shampoo, the shelf-life of products marketed in the stores, that there are harmful and carcinogenics in practically everything we have used from the time we wake up to until we go to sleep that I have breathed, absorbed, ingested and wore. 

I was introduced to a “green” health & wellness manufacturing company right here in the USA, which I have chosen to build a work-from-home business so I can introduce, share and expand your knowledge so you can live a more vibrant life with natural products you can safely use and better for you from the time you awake and until you go to sleep without worry of toxic ingredients.  

I am beyond the pink because I am tired of corporations advertising products to me that I need  and that will improve my life, which are actually detrimental to my health. I am beyond the pink because if we can not rely on retailers to protect our health from toxic chemicals than we need to take action.


Where Hope Lies

As the regional director of an environmental group, I spend a lot of time listening…to our members. To grassroots community leaders. To my own neighbors, friends and family.  What I’ve found is that the road to being an environmentalist almost always starts with health — and the worry that a local pollution source is poisoning our air, water or community. As is the case with my own family, this battle all too often plays out in hospitals. And in oncology centers. We are all too aware of this breast cancer epidemic. For me, hope for a healthier tomorrow lies in action for prevention. I am beyond awareness, I crave action — because action to prevent exposure to toxic chemicals in our daily lives will lead to less suffering, less illness. Longer, healthier lives — fully lived. Without side effects from treatment, without worries about recurrence. I am beyond the pink because the majority of breast cancer is not linked to genetic factors alone and we can work together for a healthier tomorrow. And I’m honored to be on this journey with the Breast Cancer Fund.

-Cynthia Luppi, Clean Water Action

I remember when I received the call

I clearly remember that it was September 22, 2011, when I received the call: I had breast cancer. I had flunked my mammogram, but assumed it was a mistake. During my follow up appointment, I was distracted until I noticed that the technician seemed agitated and overly polite. A radiologist did an ultrasound and a biopsy on the spot. A week later, I got the game-changing telephone call. I was 45.

The mammogram had likely saved my life. My tumor was small, but aggressive. It had already created a clone. The doctor gave me a choice: lumpectomy or mastectomy, and I had exactly 13 days to make my choice before the scheduled surgery.

I had a lumpectomy on October 5. Before the surgery, I had had barely enough time to school myself on breast cancer, let alone the pros and cons of each surgical choice. During my recovery, I had some time to ponder.

Breast cancer did not run in my family. I had never known enough about it to even include it on the laundry list of fears that kept me awake, particularly after having children. Suddenly, I was finding out about it, fast.

Only 5 to 10% of breast cancer is considered hereditary. No one knows what causes one person to get cancer and not others, but researchers are starting to understand risk factors better. I started to learn that toxic chemicals are everywhere in our consumer products, and they are mostly not regulated by government.

That October, I recovered from surgery and learned about environmental factors and cancer. At the same time, October being breast cancer awareness month, pink ribbons bloomed everywhere around me, on cosmetics, yoghurt, and canned goods, among other things.

But wait, BPA in the plastic liner of canned goods is suspected to cause cancer, I had learned. And many cosmetics contain carcinogenic ingredients, I also learned. What?

Turns out that slapping a pink ribbon on a product does not guarantee that that product is not cancer causing. In fact, the range of products that have touted a pink ribbon – guns and fast food among them – do not have a universal claim to health.

As I approached the start of chemotherapy (and the well-meaning volunteers at the American Cancer Society’s “Look good; Feel Better,” offered me free cosmetics full of endocrine disruptors), my children asked if it meant that we would now be joining all the pink ribbon events.

Actually, no, I said. Pink ribbons were – and are – everywhere in October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But when 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with the disease, how much more awareness do we need?

I decided it was time to move beyond awareness, beyond pink ribbons, to working to stop the disease before it starts. I learned that in just a generation there has been a 40-percent increase in breast cancer, and we know that environmental factors like toxic chemical exposures have played a major role. Eliminating our exposure to toxic chemicals is a crucial and too often ignored step toward prevention.

Who knows if I am reducing my risk for a cancer reoccurrence by reducing the number of personal care products I use and by running products through the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics database so that I can identify dangerous chemicals before I decide whether to purchase. What I do know is that I am being as proactive as I can be to protect myself and my children, taking on a job that I wish were done for me, by companies that produce and sell consumer goods, by government regulators.

That’s why I also support the Breast Cancer Fund and Breast Cancer Action – two San Francisco-based groups that demand we move beyond the pink and call for chemical reform laws and more attention for prevention.

Since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I have counseled three more women my age I know who were also diagnosed with breast cancer. Finding a cure is great, but how can we prevent it from happening in the first place?

-Faith Raider

My story so far is I don’t have breast cancer.  I’ve been close .

I’ve believed strongly for many years, our in home toxic environment is a cause. Even  material our homes are built with are toxic.  Flame retardants in insulation or  residue from the foods cooked/baked/burned/ or that which we cover the food with, aluminum foil, plastic for ex could be and I think are, contributors.   I could go on and on.  

I worry as long as people don’t make the connection between their illnesses  and the chemicals  used it seems hopeless…..

Beyond The Pink

Kermit was right it ain’t easy being green not to mention going “Beyond the Pink”, especially when you’re not in a “green” enclave like San Francisco, Asheville, or some other progressive community that has had the luxury of education and economic prosperity to begin that journey.

I grew up in Appalachia.  I was ignorant of that fact until a college professor enlightened me to this shocking revelation.  Southwestern Pennsylvania is an area that has ridden the boom to bust and back again wave of wrecking the environment since the industrial revolution. The economic prosperity of coal mining, steel making, and now fracking brings money to a few for a short period but wreaks havoc on everyone.

It seemed like every other house on the street where I grew up had someone dying of cancer.  My cousin died of a brain tumor at 13, my mom died of renal cell carcinoma at 54, and I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 37.

That diagnosis propelled me to The Breast Cancer Fund where I found a tribe who inspired, challenged, and educated me. It changed my life but unfortunately not the lives of many of the people I knew and loved.

When I go back to where I grew up and see folks still microwaving in plastic, changing the oil on their cars and dumping it on the ground, or buying food because they think it’s cheaper not healthier I know how much work is left.

That’s why I love, love BCF’s “Beyond the Pink”. It is a clear, easy and straight forward way for everyone to begin the process of leading a more healthy life. Detoxifying your home and food is something when presented in this format everyone can embrace!  I mailed (snail not email because she doesn’t own a computer) my cousin this list because I know that she will feel empowered by learning how she can improve her immediate environment.  It’s the trickle that begins the wave.

I don’t think there will be a pot of gold and the end of just a pink rainbow. Let’s go “Beyond the Pink” and embrace all the colors of a healthy environment!

-Iris Lancaster, Asheville, NC

I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2000. I did the Run for the Cure along with friends and family and volunteered at the survivor tent. Over the years I have realized that there are many cures out there but the Pharmaceuticals (and who is in bed with them) don’t want a cure, along with many other diseases. The Run for the cure will never give us a cure.

We need to get rid of toxic chemicals in every facet of our life. We need to get rid of GMO’s and Monsanto. We need to eat organic. It is not easy. The powers at be make it difficult but not impossible. A good start is to get involved with the March against Monsanto on October 12 ( world wide).

Prevention is very important!!

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