Gayle Sulik’s mission is to promote nuanced thinking and the best available evidence when making decisions that impact personal and public health. 

Gayle Sulik received her PhD in medical sociology at the University at Albany (SUNY) and has 16 years of experience communicating scientific research and information to diverse audiences. With experience teaching graduate and undergraduate courses at the University at Albany (SUNY), Vassar College, and Texas Woman’s University, she is also skilled in curriculum development and content delivery.

Gayle Sulik’s ground-breaking research and analysis of breast cancer as a disease, a social cause, and an industry is richly described in her book Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women’s Health (Oxford 2011). Building from her research, Sulik founded the Breast Cancer Consortium (BCC) in 2012 — an international working group focused on energizing scientific and public discourse about breast cancer, critical health literacy, and evidence-based medicine.

In addition to her writing for BCC and various scholarly journals, Sulik has published articles at CNN, The Guardian, Scientific American, Pacific Standard, Broadly, Psychology Today, Narratively, Oxford University Press Blog, Ms. Magazine, Feminist Reflections, Girl w/ Pen, and other outlets. She is regularly quoted in a variety of media from Reuters and USA Today to Marie Claire, Health News Review, BMJ, and The New York Times Magazine, and she has been a featured guest on NPR, Al Jazeera America, America’s Radio News Network, Oprah Radio, Reach MD, The Stupid Cancer Show, and other shows.

Sulik won the Sociologists for Women in Society Distinguished Feminist Lecturer Award for her important and accessible scholarship and was named one of the top online influencers in the field of breast cancer. She received the prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities research fellowship for Pink Ribbon Blues for its value to humanities scholars and general audiences, and one of her blog articles, “The Teal Before the Pink,” was selected from over 8,000 incisive works to be included in The OUPblog Tenth Anniversary Book: Ten Years of Academic Insights for the Thinking World.

Gayle Sulik has much to offer in showing others not only how to do the kind of research she has done, but how to communicate it. As a medical writer she has worked with academics, industry experts, patient advocates, nonprofit organizations, artists, and publishers to synthesize, interpret, and translate scientific information into plain language.

Currently, Gayle Sulik is a medical writer with DynaMed, a division of EBSCO Health that is focused on getting the best available evidence to clinicians at the point-of-care. In her free time, she practices and teaches yoga.


I’m Not the Perfect Cancer Survivor. But I’ve Learned to Live With That

by Adam Bessie, Marc Parenteau, and Gayle Sulik, Narratively, February 16, 2017. Republished on VOX, March 27, 2017.

Years after successfully surviving a malignant brain tumor, I still feel guilty for not being the hyper-athletic, diet-conscious superhero we’re told every survivor should be. Read More

If You Really Want to Help Cancer Research, Don’t Give Money to the NFL

by Gayle Sulik, Broadly, on VICE, January 29, 2016.

Despite the National Football League’s contributions to the American Cancer Society through its official “Crucial Catch” campaign, the league is not really a breast cancer philanthropist. Sure, players wear pink cleats, halftime shows feature pink ribbons and breast cancer survivors, and clubs host events or reach out to select breast cancer charities, but data analysis shows that the NFL is first and foremost a major corporate entity that acts in the interests of themselves, their stakeholders, and employees. Read More

How Should We Address Breast Cancer When Norms Continually Change?

by Gayle Sulik, The Guardian, October 20, 2015.

The norms surrounding treatment and diagnosis have been slow to change, and new research can upend decades of conventional wisdom. When it comes to breast cancer, it can be hard to know what to think. Do I get screened or not, starting at what age, and for how long? If I have breast cancer, how aggressively should I treat it? What if I do nothing? I can’t answer those questions definitively, and neither should anyone other than a well-informed member of a person’s healthcare team. But I can help put these decisions in perspective and explain why breast cancer is such a moving target. Read More

Time to Debunk the Mammography Myth

by Gayle Sulik and Bonnie Spanier, CNN, Mar. 18, 2014.

For decades, belief in some version of “early detection cures breast cancer and saves lives” has shaped our view. In the 1970s, when women like Betty Ford and the late Shirley Temple Black were lifting the veil of secrecy and shame surrounding breast cancer, finding the disease “early” meant being alert to symptoms to find a tumor before it got so large it poisoned the body. In this context, it was logical to try to find tumors before they got to this point. Today “early detection” means something very different. We know now that the benefits of mammograms are far smaller than early evidence suggested, and the hazards have been largely ignored. Read More

What Survivorship Means

In Virtual Mentor, the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, 15:697-703, 2013.

According to the National Cancer Institute Office of Cancer Survivorship, a person is considered a cancer survivor at the time of cancer diagnosis and remains so for the remainder of his or her life. By this definition there were about 13.7 million cancer survivors in the United States as of January 2012, a number projected to reach 18 million in the next decade. Sixty-four percent of the 2012 survivor population had survived 5 or more years; 40 percent had survived 10 or more years; and 15 percent had survived 20 or more years. But, contrary to the common definition of survival (i.e., to live), many cancer survivors do not actually survive cancer—according to an 18-year study by the American Association for Cancer Research, just over half of people labeled cancer “survivors” ultimately died of cancer. This contradiction creates confusion about the meaning of survivorship for patients, caregivers, and health practitioners. What’s more, it influences social support, policy guidelines, health care delivery and research, and survivors’ lives. Read More

Angelina Jolie, Genetic Tests, and the Politics of Gene Patents

Angelina Jolie’s op-ed in The New York Times was big news. She shared her family history of cancer, her own genetic mutation, and her choice to have prophylactic surgery – agonizing decisions faced by other high risk women. The context of Jolie’s personal decision involves the politics of patenting human genes, which the Supreme Court decided in June 2013 was unlawful.

@pinkribbonblues on Twitter

"women urged to get screened because it might save their lives. But that’s only 1 possible outcome, and it’s the least likely one" @cragcrest

From Pink Ribbon Blues's Twitter via Twitter Web App

“Pink Ribbon Blues”

With an introduction on fundraising controversies and a color insert with images of, and reactions to, pink ribbon culture.

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How breast cancer awareness month became a shopping bonanza Vox

How sexism in medicine is hurting breast cancer survivors Cosmopolitan

Seeing clearly through the pink haze Toronto Sun

Breast cancer-detecting bra won’t go away–and the news coverage is still sub-par Health News Review

*Sad face*: Being happy does not help you live longer New Scientist

Backlash against “pinkwashing” of breast cancer awareness campaigns BMJ

Breast Cancer to Rise 50 Percent by 2030? Hey, Not So Fast! Health News Review

Breast Cancer: The Flaws in the Cause

How to Make the Biggest Impact With Your Breast Cancer Donations Money

The Very Pink, Very Controversial Business of Breast Cancer Awareness Racked

The problem with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Women's Health Magazine

Pink Ribbon Envy: Living with an Uncool Cancer The Nib

A Year After Bombings, Some Say 'Boston Strong' Has Gone Overboard NPR, All Things Considered

Canadian Mammogram Study KCRW, NPR Affiliate

Breast Cancer: Awareness, Activism & Pinkwashing NPR Charlotte

Buying Pink Al Jazeera's The Stream

Angelina Jolie and the 'Breast Cancer Gene' KCRW

Our Feel-Good War on Breast Cancer The New York Times Magazine.

WISH Interview Women's International Summit for Health

Sexy breast cancer campaigns anger many patients USA Today

Gayle Sulik named in SharecareNow’s Top 10 Online Influencers in Breast Cancer

Komen Charity Under Microscope for Funding, Science Reuters

The Fight Against Cancer - And Abortion?

Susan G. Komen For the Cure defunds Planned Parenthood. In Deep with Angie Coiro

Amid Breast Cancer Month, Is there Pink Fatigue? NPR's All Things Considered

How is Breast Cancer Culture Undermining Women's Health? America’s Radio News Network

Pink Ribbon Culture and Breast Cancer The Kojo Nnamdi Show

The Big Business of Breast Cancer
Marie Claire

Does Breast Cancer Awareness Month Crowd Out Other Diseases? Slate

Pink Ribbon Fatigue New York Times Well

The Down Side of Awareness Campaigns LA Times