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CONFLICTS OF INTEREST: The American Cancer Society (ACS) profits from Mammography

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The ACS has close connections to the mammography industry (39). Five radiologists have served as ACS presidents, and in its every move, the ACS promotes the interests of the major manufacturers of mammogram machines and films, including Siemens, DuPont, General Electric, Eastman Kodak, and Piker. The mammography industry also conducts research for the ACS and its grantees, serves on advisory boards, and donates considerable funds. DuPont also: is a substantial backer of the ACS Breast Health Awareness Program; sponsors television shows and other media productions touting mammography; produces advertising, promotional, and information literature for hospitals, clinics, medical organizations, and doctors; produces educational films; and, of course, lobbies Congress for legislation promoting availability of mammography services. In virtually all its important actions, the ACS has been and remains strongly linked with the mammography industry, while ignoring or attacking the development of viable alternatives (39). ACS promotion continues to lure women of all ages into mammography centers, leading them to believe that mammography is their best hope against breast cancer. A leading Massachusetts newspaper featured a photograph of two women in their twenties in an ACS advertisement that promised early detection results in a cure "nearly 100 percent of the time." An ACS communications director, questioned by journalist Kate Dempsey, admitted in an article published by the Massachusetts Women's Community's journal Cancer, "The ad isn't based on a study. When you make an advertisement, you just say what you can to get women in the door. You exaggerate a point. . . . Mammography today is a lucrative [and] highly competitive business" (39).

Mammography is a striking paradigm of the capture of unsuspecting women by run-away powerful technological and pharmaceutical global industries, with the complicity of the cancer establishment, particularly the ACS, and the rollover mainstream media. Promotion of the multibillion dollar mammography screen-ing industry has also become a diversionary flag around which legislators and women's product corporations can rally, protesting how much they care about women, while studiously avoiding any reference to avoidable risk factors of breast cancer, let alone other cancers.


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Excerpted from “Dangers and Unreliability of Mammography: Breast Examination is a Safe, Effective and Practical Alternative”, by Samuel S. Epstein, Rosalie Bertell, and Barbara Seaman, International Journal of Health Services, Volume 31, Number 3, 2001

Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.
Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition
c/o University of Illinois at Chicago
School of Public Health, M/C 922
2121 W. Taylor Street
Chicago, IL 60612



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