Pink ribbon rip-off: corporations exploit cancer, extort cash from consumers

Corporations are milking breast cancer.

Every fall, companies roll out pink-ribbon product lines that supposedly give the consumer a chance to support the fight against breast cancer.

“The pink ribbon has lost its effectiveness, becoming merely a marketing tool to sell stuff,” said breast cancer activist Nancy Stordahl in a blog post on

Everything comes in pink. From pink-ribbon staplers to pink-ribbon lipstick — even pink-ribbon Kentucky Fried Chicken — consumers are given the opportunity to “support” the fight against breast cancer with every purchase.

While I could rant for hours on end about the absurdity of a pink bucket of chicken, I’ll assume you have the two brain cells it takes to realize the problem here: even Colonel Sanders knows that the last thing America needs is a new scheme to sell deep-fried breasts.

Speaking of breasts, how much are these companies really doing to protect our ta-tas?

While many companies do indeed donate a significant portion of their sales, I say people need to do their research before they buy.

Reuters reported that the Komen Foundation, the most popular breast cancer charity and creator of the pink ribbon campaign, only spends 15 percent of its funds on cancer research. The remaining money is mainly spent on raising awareness, fundraising and administration costs, amongst other things.

How generous. I’m sure a cure is right around the corner, right?

Well, it’s not. And I’m pissed off.

How dare these companies lie to our faces and say they’re “fighting” breast cancer when they only spend 15 percent of their funds on cancer research? If the greedy business executive in charge of this wants to see a real fight, I’ll show him one.

Don’t worry, though; I’ll be generous — I’ll leave him 15 percent of his manhood.

But what about all the money being donated? I bet you won’t be surprised when I tell you some corporations don’t donate as much as they want you to believe.

According to the Better Business Bureau, some companies report they donate a certain percentage of sales but put a cap on their donation. In other words, once donations reach a certain threshold, the money stops flowing and ends up in the pockets of the corporation.

All of that money you donated might actually be used by some fat cat executive to buy his bleach-blonde daughter a new pair of implants. Let’s just hope she doesn’t lose them to breast cancer. Daddy wouldn’t want that now, would he?

Certainly, I am not serious when I say I hope a poor girl gets breast cancer. But I’m not joking, either. I’m dead serious when I say corporations need to remove cancerous chemicals from their products that supposedly support the cause against cancer.

This contamination of products with carcinogens brings me back to my primary claim: that corporations are “milking” breast cancer.

“Corporations are making money off pink ribbons while women are paying with their lives,” said Executive Director of Breast Cancer Action Karuna Jaggar in an article on

According to Breast Cancer Action, the very same corporations selling these pink-ribbon products sell other products laced with rBGH, an artificial growth hormone linked to cancer.

“In addition to producing and selling breast cancer-linked rBGH, Eli Lilly manufactures Evista to ‘prevent’ breast cancer and Gemzar to treat it,” wrote a spokesperson for Breast Cancer Action. “That’s a highly lucrative profit cycle around breast cancer.”

So, with every purchase you make in your attempt to support the fight against breast cancer, you are not only being lied to but are also one more purchase closer to cancer. If these companies really cared about ending breast cancer, they’d remove the carcinogens from their products.

But they don’t care and aren’t going to make changes anytime soon, because the money they make off cancer is, in their eyes, too much to pass up.

These fat cats put profits above their mothers’ lives.

Corporations aren’t curing cancer; they are causing it. And they’re making a hell of a lot of money in the process.