Planned Parenthood Aside, Komen Is Just Ineffective

We must continue to put pressure on breast cancer organization: Peggy Orenstein
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2012 12:43 PM CST
   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Newser) – The furor that pushed the Komen foundation to reverse its controversial Planned Parenthood decision must now be turned to other aspects of the breast cancer fundraising organization, writes Peggy Orenstein in the Los Angeles Times. Despite the name "Susan G. Komen for the Cure," last year the organization spent just 15% of its funds on research. That's about half the percentage spent in 2008, despite the fact that Komen's revenue is rising. The truth is, "mammography, rather than a cure, has always been Komen's focus," as evidenced by the fact that 55% of last year's funds went toward awareness and promoting mammograms.

That's problematic, given that research has shown the value of mammography has been overstated; one of its main benefits is "finding and diagnosing … Stage 0 cancer, which will probably never become invasive." Meanwhile, the death rate for those with metastatic cancer, which spreads beyond the breast, has not changed in a quarter-century. But Komen prefers to keep things simple and focus on what one author calls "she-roes," those "warriors in heels who kick cancer's butt (and look fab doing it)." Of course, none of those she-roes have late-stage breast cancer, Orenstein notes. That's why it's time to push Komen to change more of its policies—or take our donations to other breast cancer organizations. Click for the full column. (Read more Planned Parenthood stories.)

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