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Pink Fatigue: Are Pretty Ribbons Really Helping End Breast Cancer?

About.com by Pamela Stephan, October 21, 2010

My friend MaryJo Sanna came to hate the color pink.  She was fighting Inflammatory Breast Cancer – a hard battle – and all the pink ribbons and bracelets and pinked-to-the-max products could not save her.  MaryJo wore pink only for limited occasions, and then griped about it, because she knew that all the pinkness in the world would not magically produce The Cure.


Breast-cancer campaign: ‘Too much awareness may not be good for your health,’ doctor says.

LA Times’ health blog Booster Shots by Mary Forgione, October 19, 2010. [The piece got picked up by Pennslyvania’s Fox News website (posted Oct. 19), Chicago Tribune (posted Oct. 19), Change.org (posted Oct. 20), and Frenchtribune.com (posted Oct. 20).]

October’s pink hue is starting to lose its luster among some who think National Breast Cancer Awareness Month may be overdoing it — not just from a marketing perspective, but from a medical one. Medical sociologist Gayle Sulik, author of “Pink Ribbon Blues,” has recently gained attention for contending that the breast-cancer awareness campaign has indeed been a success story — just not a health one. But from an attention-getting standpoint, she says, it has worked.

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Texas Book Festival: Pink Ribbon Blues

How to Have Sex In Texas Blog by Julie Sunday MPH, October 17, 2010

As an acolyte of Dr. Devra Davis and a committed skeptic of corporate interests in health, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to hear Dr. Gayle Sulik speak at the Texas Book Festival yesterday about her new book, Pink Ribbon Blues. Sulik spoke about “pink ribbon culture” defining the breast cancer experience based on an idealized woman (the “She-Ro”) who does not exist.

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Thinking Pink Proves Personally Rewarding. Breast-cancer Campaign Not Without Its Detractors

The Vindicator (Youngstown, PA) by Kristine Gill, October 16, 2010

If it weren’t for all that pink, Aileen Magnotto’s cancer may have gone undiagnosed. The Hermitage, Pa., woman said the pink-ribbon campaign made her more proactive when she noticed a lump in her breast in 2005 after having attending a Susan G. Komen for the Cure race earlier that year.

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Pink is Symbol, Not Yet Victory in Breast Cancer Battle

The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) by Wendi Thomas, October 14, 2010

The uneasy feeling descended as I watched the Tennessee Titans beat the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. It was a pink ickiness — there was pink on the players’ shoes, their sweat rags were pink, and a pink ribbon was on players’ helmets. Why? Because October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the NFL was in reverent observance.

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The Explosion of Pink

 Our Bodies Ourselves by Rachel, October 12, 2010

It’s October, so the explosion of pink products at the grocery and other stores shouldn’t surprise us: it’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the time of the year when we’re asked to eradicate breast cancer by buying pink-ribboned  products. New to the conversation is a recently published book by Gayle Sulik, Pink Ribbon Blues. Sulik . . . talks about the kind of forced optimism associated with these campaigns, the associated gender roles and expectations, and potential financial conflicts “that keep the war on breast cancer profitable.

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Pink Ribbon Fatigue

The New York Times By Barron Lerner MD, October 11, 2010 [ Picked up on The Breast Check Kit (posted Oct. 11, 2010), Breast Cancer Network of Strength (posted Oct. 11, 2010) and The Society Pages (posted Oct. 12, 2010).]

The pink ribbon has been a spectacular success in terms of bringing recognition and funding to the breast cancer cause. But now there is a growing impatience about what some critics have termed “pink ribbon culture.” Medical sociologist Gayle A. Sulik, author of the new book “Pink Ribbon Blues (Oxford University Press), calls it “the rise of pink October.”

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Writers Discuss Breast Cancer Awareness

Columbus Ledger-Enquirer by Sonya Sorich, October 10, 2010

You’ve probably already adjusted to October’s pink glow. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time when you can find shades of pink on items ranging from cosmetics to bottled water. The reading world is no exception. Sure, pink pages are a little rare. But with just a little research, you can build a book collection that spans survivors’ stories, advocacy and more.


Pink Retail Therapy

The Gainseville Sun by Claire Parker, October 7, 2010 [Picked up by Ocala Star-Banner, October 7, 2010.]

The pink invasion has begun. Pink ribbons, pink merchandising campaigns and pink slogans dominate the retail scene in October, a month designated for breast cancer awareness. To many, pink symbolizes hope for a cure as proceeds from pink merchandise often support breast cancer research. But pink-themed shopping is not all blissful retail therapy for some.

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The Downside of Awareness Campaigns

LA Times By Christie Aschwanden, October 4, 2010

As predictably as the leaves turn yellow in autumn, America turns pink each October with the arrival of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. From shopping malls to football stadiums, the campaign’s signature pink ribbons seem to be everywhere. Yet some experts are questioning whether this awareness campaign is truly helping women with breast cancer.

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