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FDA: Reports of Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) in Women with Breast Implants

The FDA reported on Jan. 26, 2011 that women with breast implants have a small but slightly increased risk of developing anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a very rare disease typically affecting 3 out of 100 million women. If you have breast implants but no symptoms, you should continue with routine follow ups with your medical providers and you should discuss the risks and benefits as they pertain to you. Read the full FDA news release here.

BCA has long advocated that we must stop putting products in the marketplace before we fully understand their potential impact on human health. In this case, the studies that identified that women with breast implants have a small but increased risk of ALCL were conducted in post approval monitoring - after approved implants were surgically placed in women's bodies. BCA will continue to urge the FDA to put patients first and have health data before approving medical devices.

The Winter 2011 Source is now online!

Check out the latest issue of BCA's newsletter, The Source!


In this issue: Drug approval at the FDA, BCA's Policy Corner, an excerpt from Pink Ribbon Blues, and more.


Want the Source delivered to your inbox four times a year? Sign up here.


BCA's 2009/2010 18-Month Annual Summary is Available Online

We’re excited to publish this year’s Annual Summary of Breast Cancer Action’s (BCA) work. During 2009 and 2010 we continued to focus on our priorities to advocate for more effective and less toxic breast cancer treatments, decrease involuntary environmental exposure to toxins that put people at risk for breast cancer, and create awareness that it’s not just genes, but social injustices that lead to disparities in breast cancer outcomes. Until there’s no longer a need for BCA to exist, we will ensure that your voice is heard and we will take the actions necessary to end the breast cancer epidemic. Thank you for your support! You can take a look at the Annual Summary here.

FDA Breaking News on Avastin

BCA commends the FDA’s December 16th recommendation that Avastin not be used to treat breast cancer. In all the trials completed for Avastin in the metastatic breast cancer setting, no evidence of increased overall survival was shown.  BCA advocates that the FDA not approve drugs for treatment of breast cancer unless they can be shown to 1) improve overall survival, and/or 2) improve quality of life, and/or 3) cost less than therapies already available.  Unfortunately, Avastin fails on all counts.  The interests of patients must come before the profits of companies manufacturing the treatments.  We need to continue to demand better drugs for people with metastatic disease.

Read more about the FDA’s decision here.

Reporting from the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium

Three members of the BCA team (Program Manager Kim Irish and BCA Board Members Jane Zones and Lindsey Collins) attended the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, the largest annual scientific meeting focused on breast cancer. They reported back on what they learned.

Day 1 (Dec. 8): Genetic Testing, Radiation Treatment, and Treating Lymphedema

Day 1 (Dec. 8): Treating CNS Metastases

Day 2 (Dec. 9): Clinical Science Forum: "Controversies in Screening for Breast Cancer"

Day 2 (Dec. 9): Update on Zometa

Days 1 & 2 (Dec. 8-9, 2010): Biomarkers & Aromatase Inhibitors

Day 3 (Dec. 10): Genentech Presentations

Day 3 (Dec. 10): Recent U.S. trends in the local treatment of primary breast cancer

Editorial: Barbara Brenner Reflects on SABCS from Afar

UPDATE on methyl iodide approval in California

UPDATE: Farmworkers & environmental health organizations file methyl iodide lawsuit

We have bad news and good news on the cancer-causing pesticide methyl iodide. The bad news-- corporate pressure defeated science and methyl iodide was approved for use in California fields. The good news -- we can tell Governor-Elect Jerry Brown to do things differently. Please join us in telling Jerry Brown that Californians and people across the nation expect him to protect public health by banning methyl iodide.

Methyl iodide is so toxic that chemists use it to induce cancer cell growth in labs. Many thanks to our friends at Pesticide Action Network for taking the lead on trying to keep this toxic substance out of our world.


Breast Cancer Message Barred in Eli Lilly’s Hometown; Be the Billboard!

Question:  Who controls the media when it comes to public health in the U.S? 6,732 of you signed a petition asking us to deliver a message to Eli Lilly via billboard in their hometown of Indianapolis.  The message  “Eli Lilly is making us sick.  Tell them to stop” was rejected by every billboard company in Indianapolis.  For 6 weeks we’ve been working to find a media company that would let us BUY billboard space telling Eli Lilly to stop Milking Cancer.

A breast cancer organization's message about the impact of a drug company’s behavior is being kept off billboards in the company's hometown. When a breast cancer advocacy organization can't get billboard space to share information about a public health risk, the public should be outraged—we certainly are. To help us get the word out about rBGH, breast cancer, and Eli Lilly, Be the Billboard for BCA.

BCA a runner-up at BENNY Awards

On Wednesday, October 13, the Business Ethics Network honored BCA with a 3rd place Path to Victory Award for our What the Cluck? Campaign criticizing the partnership between KFC and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  Thank you for recognizing us and other innovative organizations for our work challenging unethical corporate practices!

BCA a runner-up for CLASSY Awards' Most Effective Awareness Campaign

Thank you for voting for our “What the Cluck?” campaign in the Classy Awards’ city and national competition for the "Most Effective Awareness Campaign." The campaign encouraged thousands of consumers to tell KFC and Komen leadership to stop their pinkwashing partnership.

We were thrilled to win the Classy Awards’ city category and to be a runner up for the national award. By changing the conversation we will end this breast cancer epidemic. Thank you!

A Night to Remember

BCA is grateful to all those who made our 20th Anniversary Celebration on October 7th in San Francisco a night to remember. We’ll be sharing the full story about the inspiring speeches by Barbara Brenner, Barbara Ehrenreich,  Rachel Morello-Frosch and Belle Shayer, as well as the fabulous performance by The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in our next online edition of The Source. But, until then – check out the photos from our photographer Anita Bowen (login bca_anniversary) and our special event photo booth!

Subscribe to BCA's Think Before You Pink blog!

During “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” consumer marketing agencies dress products in pink. We recently launched the Think Before You Pink blog to provide an alternative to the dominant narrative about “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” and help provide information that can’t be found in the numerous aisles of pink products you’ll see this October. Come on over and join the conversation.

FDA Advisory Panel Recommends End to Avastin for Advanced Breast Cancer

BCA advocated at the FDA to stop the use of Avastin as treatment for metastatic breast cancer. In 2007, BCA was the only breast cancer organization to put patients first by actively opposing the use of Avastin for metastatic breast cancer because of its failure to improve overall survival or quality of life, its side effects, and high price tag. In 2010, BCA's position was endorsed by a number of breast cancer organizations. You can read our letter to the FDA regarding full approval of Avastin here.

Click here for BCA's commentary on the panel's recommendation.

Safe Chemicals Act Introduced in Congress

BCA signed on in support of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010, which would modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.  The bill requires safety testing of all industrial chemicals, and shifts the burden to industry to prove that chemicals are safe in order to stay on the market.

Read more about the bill here.

Tell Congress to pass this much-needed law.

BCA in the News: The Colbert Report

Check out Stephen Colbert's hilarious and spot-on cause marketing commentary--with a hat tip to Breast Cancer Action! (starts around 1:14)


A Win for Patients, Judge Rules Against Myriad in First Round

Filed by the American Civil Liberties Union with Breast Cancer Action as one of the plaintiffs, this lawsuit challenges Myriad Genetics' patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2, the “breast cancer genes.” Read about the ruling and check out BCA's recent e-alert about it.

Watch this video to learn more about gene patenting and its impact.

BCA's Barbara Brenner on KQED Perspectives

BCA's Barbara Brenner was featured on KQED as part of their Perspectives series.  Listen to her Perspectives below (each approx. 2 minutes)

Click here to listen to Barbara's Perspective on "Understanding Risk." (July 13th)

Click here to listen to Barbara's Perspective on gene patenting. (April 13th)

Click here to listen to Barbara's Perspective on the term "survivor." (Feb. 4th)