Awareness raising alone is not stemming the tide of the breast cancer epidemic | Breast Cancer UK

Awareness raising alone is not stemming the tide of the breast cancer epidemic

Published 9 Oct 2014

By Laura Dodsworth, creator of ‘Bare Reality’

When I set the date for the ‘Bare Reality’ Kickstarter campaign, it escaped my attention that it would run into Breast Cancer Awareness month.   The articles, campaigns and messages I’ve seen on social media over the past couple of weeks remind me how glad I am that I decided to support a breast cancer charity with proceeds from my book. Supporting Breast Cancer UK was an easy choice; I stand with them in their call to refocus our attention on breast cancer awareness and transform it into action for prevention.

The issues around the environment and chemical causes of cancer are important and complex and Breast Cancer UK is the only national charity that’s tackling them head on. Awareness raising alone is not stemming the tide of the breast cancer epidemic. Surely, the next big conversation we must have - the one that’s missing – is how to prevent this terrible disease from developing in the first place?

Breast Cancer UK had real success with their campaign to ban the chemical, BPA, in baby feeding bottles. I remember when my children were babies, I looked for and couldn’t find BPA-free bottles. Thank goodness that our precious babies are now better protected from this endocrine disrupting chemical (EDCs). As a parent, you feel about nothing so strongly as your child’s health and happiness. Breast Cancer UK continues to campaign for further restrictions on BPA in food and drink packaging, and on other EDCs that have been linked with breast cancer and other diseases.

I recommend you read their information about EDCs so that you can decide how you might reduce your  own - and your family’s - exposure to harmful chemicals. I started making small changes slowly, one by one, years ago. For instance, instead of plastic drinking bottles (some of which still contain BPA or similar substitutes) to take to school, we use stainless steel ones. They’re a bit more expensive, but they‘re BPA-free, last longer and they keep your drinks cool. We can’t isolate ourselves from the world we live in, but we can reduce our exposure by making different choices. We can also support Breast Cancer UK in the work they do to push for political action on prevention – and for a European-wide EDC strategy, based on the latest science.

Amazingly, since the Kickstarter campaign started just four weeks ago, my project has been written about in over fifty media articles around the world, the video has been viewed an amazing 1.25 million times, and 820 people have supported the campaign to date. I’m thankful to Breast Cancer UK for supporting it too, and for tweeting, sharing and blogging about it.

As well as donating proceeds from the book ‘Bare Reality: 100 women and their breasts’ to Breast Cancer UK, I hope that my work has – and will continue to - help raise curiosity into the crucial issues that Breast Cancer UK campaigns on, helped galvanise support for better funding into how we can curb the rising incidence rates of the disease (only 3.6% of cancer research funding has gone into prevention recently).

The Kickstarter campaign ends this Friday night, so there’s still time to pre-order a signed copy of the book, with your name listed as a supporter inside it! Your pledge for each book will include a £1 donation to Breast Cancer UK, which they’ll use to help stop thousands more women having to hear those dreadful words: “you have breast cancer”.

Find out more about Laura's 'Bare Reality' project and Kickstarter campaign here.

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