New research by a Queen's University researcher questions the effectiveness of privately funded efforts to stop the epidemic of breast cancer among North American women.
"Breast cancer has been transformed into a market-driven industry," says Kinesiology and Health Studies researcher Samantha King. "It has become more about making money for corporate sponsors than funding innovative ways to treat breast cancer."
Dr. King's research, just published by University of Minnesota Press in a controversial new book, Pink Ribbons Inc., traces breast cancer's transformation from a stigmatized disease and individual tragedy to what she describes as "a market-driven industry that feeds off breast cancer survivors".
According to her research, only 64% of the money raised from one high-profile corporation's walk for breast cancer actually went to breast cancer organizations.
Dr. King documents how the event and its logo have become products brought and sold by North American corporate sponsors and "the extent to which fundraising for breast cancer has become a highly valued commodity in itself."
"Fundraising for breast cancer has developed into a highly competitive market in which large foundations and corporations compete with one another to attract the loyalty of consumers - in this case, well-intentioned members of the public wanting to do their part in the fight against the disease," she says.