Taking On The Pink Juggernaut

Supporters at a Susan G. Komen for the Cure rally (leah.jones/Flickr)

By Karen Weintraub
Guest Contributor

Two Dartmouth professors today accused the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure foundation of overselling the benefits of getting routine mammograms.

The two, Steven Woloshin and Lisa Schwartz, both members of The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, argue that Komen’s public advertising campaign presented an exaggerated and only positive view of breast cancer screening – while the reality is more nuanced and less obvious.

“What’s key to surviving breast cancer? You,” read the ads that were ubiquitous last October during breast cancer awareness month. “The 5-year survival rate for breast cancer when caught early is 98%. When it’s not? 23%.”

“This is propaganda. This is distorting the information,” Woloshin said earlier today. While routine mammograms can save lives, they don’t save as many as people think, and they do carry risks, said Woloshin, also a member of the VA Outcomes Group at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction, Vt.

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