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Remembering What's Important

Gayle Sulik, Phd (Founder)

February is a hard month for BCC, as we remember our friend and collaborator Rachel Cheetham Moro. Rachel was on the ground floor of BCC's planning but died 8 months before we launched in 2012.

Even people who never met Rachel in person knew of her witty humor, evidence-based rants, and unrelenting commitment to truth-telling. In this issue, we share two remembrances of Rachel, one from Sarah Horton in Liverpool, the other from Grazia De Michele in Brighton.

Together, their words speak for many of us: "Rachel. We're so glad we knew you....With you in our heart, we go on."


I'm thrilled to have received a scholarship to attend the 2015 Lown Institute Conference, Road to RightCare: Engage, Organize, Transform from March 8-11 in San Diego, CA. Those who attend this meeting will have an opportunity to meet clinicians, patient advocates, and community leaders, learn from one another, uncover the deeply embedded causes and consequences of medical misuse and find innovative ways to address it. There is still time to register for this important conference. Go here.

Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) is currently accepting applications for the 2015 Barbara Rosenblum Dissertation Scholarship for the Study of Women and Cancer. Go here to learn more about eligibility and proposal requirements. DUE April 1.

Many thanks to Grazia De Michele for being BCC's social media contact. Find BCC on facebook or twitter.


Please forward the BCCQ to colleagues and friends who would be interested in our work. Or, you can "like" or "tweet" this issue.

Thank you for reading, and for your continued support in changing the breast cancer paradigm.


Gayle A. Sulik, PhD (Founder and Principal Investigator)


"I Remember You," For Rachel

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer eight years ago, I wanted to find my sisters. Other women who’d shared some of my experiences and ‘been in some of the same rooms.’ Finding these sisters took a while, but eventually through social media, they into my life they came. Americans for the most part, and an Australian living in the U.S., in one very particular, opinionated and lovable case. Rachel from New Jersey. Today I am remembering my dear friend. Rachel died three years ago on the 6th of February.  — by Sarah Horton, Breast Cancer Consortium. More »

Rachel's Miracle

We never met but our lives intersected. She will never know it. When Rachel died three years ago, I was still being treated for breast cancer. My Italian breast cancer blog did not yet exist. Breast Cancer Consortium did not yet exist. Lucky for me, Rachel’s blog, "The Cancer Culture Chronicles" was alive and kicking. The Cancer Culture Chronicles, now compiled as a book, was among the first breast cancer blogs I followed. — by Grazia de Michele, Breast Cancer Consortium. More »

Interview with Alexandra Gibson about Australian Breast Cancer Websites and Representations of Women

‘Pink ribbon culture’ dominates understandings of breast cancer in Western societies, but how do other countries define breast cancer culture? New BCC member Ally Gibson teams up with Christina Lee in the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland and Shona Crabb in the Discipline of Public Health at the University of Adelaide in Australia to examine how breast cancer is “discursively constructed” in the Australian context. They show that the pink ribbon culture operates within Australia in similar ways to other English-speaking Western countries, yet it also diverges. Ally shares the background of this research and their findings with the Breast Cancer Consortium. — Breast Cancer Consortium. More »

Murky Devices: The PIP Breast Implant Scandal

In 2010, French company Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP), manufacturer of silicone breast implants since 1991 and one of the main producers of silicone breast implants for Europe and Latin America, was implicated in a scandal over a high rate of implant ruptures and use of substandard silicone. The U.S. had its own silicone breast implants saga beginning in the 1980s and reaching a high point in 1990s. While in the U.S. debate stayed focused on health risks associated with medical-grade silicone implants, the French investigation ascertained that PIP implants were in violation of professional and legal codes, thereby endangering health through explicit negligence and fraud. — by Cinzia Greco, Breast Cancer Consortium. More »

Research Briefs

Tamoxifen for Prevention of Breast Cancer: Extended Long-Term Follow-Up of the IBIS-I Breast Cancer Prevention Trial

The longest randomized controlled trial to date on breast cancer chemoprevention with tamoxifen (a synthetic drug that blocks the effects of estrogen), IBIS-I, recently reported, after 16 years of follow-up, a 29 percent reduction in breast cancer (invasive and noninvasive types) for ‘high-risk’ women taking the drug for 5 years. The reduction in breast cancer risk occurred only in estrogen-receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer cases.

The study’s “primary endpoint” (e.g., the result measured at the end of a study) was incidence (the occurrence of invasive breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ, DCIS) not mortality (dying from breast cancer or other causes. In other words, the study measured Tamoxifen’s effect on reducing the frequency of breast cancers, not its effect on lowering the number of deaths.

With no survival benefit, treating healthy women with tamoxifen, to “chemoprevent” breast cancer exposes them to major harms, including deep vein clots, endometrial cancer, and possibly death from breast and endometrial cancers. The IBIS-I update highlighted risk reduction in getting breast cancer, but downplayed the data showing no survival benefit as well as the trend toward increased deaths from breast and endometrial cancers. — by Bonnie Spanier, Breast Cancer Consortium. More »

Source: Jack Cuzick et al. for IBIS-I Investigators. 2015. “Tamoxifen for prevention of breast cancer: Extended long-term follow-up of the IBIS-I breast cancer prevention trial,” Lancet Oncology [16:67-75].