New UK breast cancer charity urged to recognise risks

A newly merged breast cancer charity has been urged to acknowledge the environmental and occupational links to breast cancer and to back calls for prevention.

An open letter signed by concerned organisations and scientists expresses the hope that the merger between Breakthrough Breast Cancer and the Breast Cancer Campaign will prompt “progressive changes to breast cancer prevention policies.” The signatories of the letter to Breast Cancer Now, the new organisation headed by Baroness Delyth Morgan and which describes itself as ‘the UK’s leading breast cancer research charity’, include From Pink to Prevention, Breast Cancer Consortium, Challenge Breast Cancer Scotland, the Hazards Campaign and the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL).

The letter addressed to Baroness Morgan asks Breast Cancer Now to review its line on the incidence, risk and prevention of breast cancer, noting “we hope that future prevention policies will include the previously downgraded or overlooked roles of environmental and occupational risk factors in breast cancer”.

The letter adds that the organisation should “use its public and political influence to shape a new vision for breast cancer policy”, recognising the environmental and occupational links to breast cancer and promoting action to prevent exposures. It expresses concern that the organisations forming the new charity have consistently opposed precautionary policies to limit these exposures, and have downplayed the risks of substances including endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

Sarah Woolley, a shop steward and executive council member with the UK bakers’ union BFAWU, urged trade unionists to back the campaign. Writing on the union’s website she said by “spreading the word and holding the government, manufacturers, companies and cancer research charities to account for their rather worrying lack of action and acknowledgement of EDCs, we can help stop breast cancer before it starts, rather than concentrating solely on treating it once we have it.”


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