BCPP Diaries

BCPP’s Breast Cancer PREVENTION Month Shopping Guide

BCPP’s Breast Cancer PREVENTION Month Shopping Guide

This month, we teamed up with incredible businesses to bring you products that give back to our life saving work. Check out the great brands and goodies below! At BCPP we only partner with socially responsible and like-minded companies.Read More

Breast Cancer Prevention Month October Partner Guide (BCAM) 2021

​​​​​*Smart, safer shopping made easy*

Purchases that support our work in prevention

We call October Breast Cancer Prevention Month. For over 20 years, October has signified the month to promote awareness of breast cancer and shop in support of finding a cure. Yet, 1 in 8 women in the US will still be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. That’s why we continue to shift the conversation from awareness to prevention

At BCPP we only partner with socially responsible and like-minded companies. You’ll never find our product guides full of junk. All of our incredible partners share BCPP’s commitment to protecting the health of people and the health of the environment.

This month, we teamed up with incredible businesses to bring you products that give back to our life saving work. Check out the great brands and goodies below!

Crunchi

Crunchi

Crunchi is a revolutionary line of high-performance, safe, and toxin-free cosmetics that are redefining beauty. Thankfully, you no longer have to compromise your beauty for your health or your health for your beauty.

October 6-10, every order $150+ will receive a complimentary Lipgloss, free shipping, and Crunchi will donate $5 to BCPP. Clean Beauty

Vibrant Body

Vibrant Body Company

Vibrant Body Company is a proud leader in creating clean first layers – bras, tank tops, and underwear – for women. Their products are free of harmful toxins and free of wires, but always use the most comfortable fabrics and fits. The EveryWear Bras™ are available in semi-demi or full-coverage fit, and tank tops and underwear are made from lightweight, breathable European silk blend fabrics. Wear clean everywhere.

Now through November 15, get 50% off when you buy a complete first layer with code BCPP2ND50. 100% of purchase price goes to BCPP! Layers

Lemongrass Spa

Lemongrass Spa creates natural, effective products free of parabens, sulfates, and potentially dangerous chemicals. They are offering a limited-edition Pink Healing Balm that soothes skin irritations, restores damage, and creates a protective barrier to shield skin from environmental elements.

Get your Pink Healing Balm! From Oct 1 – Nov 1, $3 of the 6 oz. jar and $2 of the 1 oz. stick will be donated with a $4,000 minimum to directly support BCPP. Healing Balm

Balega

Balega

Balega is on a mission of prevention by encouraging healthier lifestyles for everyone. Encourage yourself and others to never give up with the limited edition Balega Women’s Grit & Grace No Show Socks featuring new inspirational phrases each year.

Make a difference today! $1 per pair of Balega Grit and Grace socks will be donated to BCPP, up to $10,000! Socks

Headsweats

Headsweats

Gear up for your next adventure and go the distance for a better planet! As the world leader in ultra-light, supremely wicking performance headwear, Headsweats is proud to support Breast Cancer Prevention Partners! 

Choose from a variety of unique designs, from their exclusive collection of performance gear. They’re donating 20% of every sale to BCPP! Headwear

Primally Pure

Primally Pure

Primally Pure products are formulated using real ingredients derived from nature for maximum purity and potency. In order to create truly safe, natural skincare products that offer real, recognizable results, they consult with leading experts in the beauty and wellness industries.

Primally Pure will donate 3.3% of the sale price for each deodorant product sold from Oct 1-31, with a $5,000 donation guaranteed! Skincare

GlassesUSA

GlassesUSA.com

GlassesUSA.com, is the leading online eyewear retailer in the U.S. and they are proud to support BCPP’s meaningful work to help prevent breast cancer.

GlassesUSA.com will donate $5 of the purchase price from every Amelia E. Kealia frame sold during October to BCPP, up to $10,000, with a donation of $2,500 guaranteed! Glasses

Henry Rose

Henry Rose

Created by Michelle Pfeiffer, Henry Rose is committed to using only ingredients vetted against the strictest standards for health and safety known today. They’re proud to be both EWG Verified and Cradle to Cradle Certified.

Each Henry Rose purchase helps contribute to a minimum donation of $5,000 to BCPP. Fragrance

Dapple Baby

Dapple Baby

At Dapple Baby, non-toxic cleaners are tailor-made for households with babies and kids. Join in this month to spread awareness of BCPP and our mission of working to help prevent breast cancer by eliminating our exposure to toxic chemicals.

Each Dapple Baby purchase made will help support a $3,000 donation to BCPP! Cleaners

Nakd Deodorant

Nakd Deodorant

At Vasarii, they believe that all personal care products created should be cruelty-free, natural, & environmentally friendly. Their natural body deodorant is made of 100% premium natural mineral salts. It is effective for up to 24 hours, it dries instantly, and just like all of their products it is not tested on animals.

This month, Vasarii will donate $1 for every nakd. Thai Crystal Deodorant that they sell on Amazon, with a minimum donation of $2,500 to BCPP! Deodorant

Innersense

Innersense

Support Breast Cancer Prevention with this limited edition BUFF® CoolNet UV+® Multifunctional Headwear exclusive from Innersense Organic Beauty!

For all of October, 100% of the purchase price ($13) will be donated to support BCPP’s Peak Hike. Headwear

Klean Kanteen

Klean Kanteen

Klean Kanteen creates solutions to single use products and uses business as a force for good. Your purchase from this family and employee-owned business allows them to donate directly to organizations like BCPP working to make the world a better place.

Klean has been a long time partner of BCPP, donating close to $300K over the years to support this amazing work! Bottles+

North Face

The North Face

The North Face’s Pink Ribbon Collection proudly supports partners such as BCPP, focused on breast cancer prevention and an active lifestyle. Since 2006, they’ve partnered with BCPP with a shared goal of working towards a world without breast cancer.

Proceeds from this year’s collection contribute $50,000 to BCPP’s mission. Collection

myChelle

MyCHELLE

MyCHELLE Dermaceuticals®, founder of the Clean Skincare Movement, is proud to support Breast Cancer Prevention Partners and the meaningful work we do to prevent breast cancer by eliminating our exposure to toxic chemicals linked to the disease.

MyCHELLE purchases help support BCPP with a guaranteed donation of $3,500! Clean Skin

TriggerPoint

TriggerPoint

TriggerPoint develops innovative massage therapy tools that mirror the feeling of a therapist’s hands, so whether at home or on-the-go, people of all lifestyles can achieve their ultimate wellness goals.

In support of BCPP, TriggerPoint is donating 20% of the purchase price of each pink GRID 1.0 and GRID 2.0 foam roller sold during the month of October! Roller

Johnson Outdoors Watercraft_kayak

Johnson Outdoors Watercraft

Johnson Outdoors Watercraft is committed to building the finest kayaks and canoes in the world. The Ocean Kayak Venus series was specifically designed for free-spirited women. The super lightweight, easy-to-transport kayak, is loaded with features for all day comfort on the water.

Johnson Outdoors Watercraft donates 1% of Venus kayaks gross sales to BCPP! Kayak

Donate for Charity

Donate for Charity

Have a car you no longer use… been sitting in your driveway forever? Just don’t want to put more money into maintenance for an older vehicle? Please consider donating it on our behalf. We’ve raised over $1 million for BCPP through vehicle donations over the past 20 years.

Call 866-392-4483 or submit a form. BCPP will make 10% more from your donation this October! Car

Crystal

CRYSTAL

CRYSTAL Deodorant™, the leader in natural deodorants for over 35 years, is proud to support Breast Cancer Prevention Partners as we work to prevent breast cancer by eliminating our exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation linked to the disease.

Each CRYSTAL purchase made helps support a guaranteed donation of $3,500 to BCPP! CRYSTAL

Juice Beauty

Juice Beauty

Juice Beauty, antioxidant-rich skincare & plant-pigment makeup, has been cleaning up the Beauty space since 2005. Vegan, Cruelty Free, Sustainable, Made with Certified Organic Ingredients and delivered from Farm to Beauty. Clinically validated formulas, authentically organic ingredients so every organic drop feeds your skin.

Oct 21-Dec 1, 5% of each Stem Cellular Collection purchase will contribute to BCPP! Clean Beauty

True Liberty Bags

True Liberty Bags

True Liberty® Bags are ‘The ORIGINAL All-Purpose Bags and Liners’ for people who cook, freeze, camp, hike, bike, hunt, fish, move, store, garden, or grow. Their industrial-strength bags are produced in the USA from FDA-approved, BPA-free nylon: a durable, food-safe material used in countless ways.

Based in N. California, True Liberty® is a woman-owned and community-focused company that prioritizes sustainability, service and partnerships, and is proud to support BCPP. Bags

REMINDER: These products come from fabulous companies that financially support our efforts to prevent breast cancer, so purchases you make also support BCPP!

You can also donate directly to prevent breast cancer.


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Erika Wilhelm_BCPP

Take PFAS Out of Our Takeout

Take PFAS Out of Our Takeout

When it comes to paper-based packaging or cardboard style containers, this natural-fiber derived food packaging often comes coated with a layer of non-stick chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, better known as ‘PFAS.’ Read More

The California legislature passed a bill to ban PFAS chemicals in paper-based food packaging, following on the heels of other states like New York, Connecticut, Minnesota and Vermont. The California Safer Food Packaging and Cookware Act (CA AB1200) is now on Governor Newsom’s desk for signing as of September 21, 2021. If you live in California, help us urge the Governor to sign this bill into law: Take action now to get forever chemicals out of our takeout!

By BCPP Senior Policy Advocate, Lisette van Vliet

In our busy lives, food on the go is a regular feature, whether it’s takeout or home deliveries, eating at the food truck, or grabbing a bite at the local café. While you may have thought about the health of that food in terms of nutritional content, or the volume of trash generated from that meal, there’s something else you may not have heard much about: the toxic chemicals leaching from the packaging into your food and posing risks to your health.

When it comes to paper-based packaging or cardboard style containers, this natural-fiber derived food packaging often comes coated with a layer of non-stick chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, better known as ‘PFAS.’

cardboard takeout containers

These toxic PFAS chemicals are known as “forever chemicals” because they do not break down when exposed to the elements – sun, rain, wind, heat, soil. They are often used in materials that contact food to confer grease and water resistance. Who wants a French fry packet to turn into a soggy pulp and stick to your fries and your fingers, right?

The problem is that the PFAS in the paper wraps, bags, sleeves, liners, plates, bowls, trays, molded fiber clamshells and even straws move out from the packaging into the food and ultimately into us. Luckily, alternatives are already available that allow us to avoid both the pulp and poison.

PFAS are linked to serious health problems. On the list are breast cancer and other cancers, birth defects, hormone disruption, kidney and liver damage, and thyroid disease. Scientific research has also linked PFAS exposure to immune system impairment, including decreased antibody response to vaccines. During a worldwide pandemic, that constitutes some very concerning news.

Moreover, it’s not just when it leaches into food that this PFAS-laden packaging poses a problem for our health. Workers are exposed to PFAS in the facilities that make the packaging, compost made with the packaging can contaminate our agricultural soils with PFAS, and the litter that washes into waterways can contaminate our drinking water.

burger wrapper

While ultimately the problem of PFAS should be handled at federal level, states are acting because the FDA has not done its job. While the FDA has banned a handful of the worst PFAS, the scientific consensus is that we must ban the entire class of over 9000 chemicals to protect our health and the environment. So long as the FDA is not moving to regulate the whole class of PFAS chemicals, states need to, and will continue to, take the lead in protecting our health.

The California legislature has passed a bill to ban these chemicals in paper-based food packaging, following on the heels of other states like New York, Connecticut, Minnesota and Vermont. The California Safer Food Packaging and Cookware Act (CA AB1200) is on Governor Newsom’s desk for signing as of September 21, 2021.

If you live in California, help us urge the Governor to sign this bill into law: Take action now to get forever chemicals out of our takeout!

The danger to our health is too serious to ignore. If AB1200 becomes law in California, we will more than double the number of people living in states banning PFAS in paper food packaging; that could be a game-changer for packaging manufacturers, pushing them to get all of us to a safer packaging future much sooner.

And that means better prevention of breast cancer and other diseases, for everyone.

Get Forever Chemicals Out of Our Takeout

Help reduce and eliminate our exposure to chemicals linked to breast cancer through our action center.


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Lisette van Vliet BCPP Policy Coordinator

BCPP Bulletin 3 2021: Spotlight on Prevention

BCPP Bulletin 3 2021: Spotlight on Prevention

As summer closes out, BCPP’s advocacy and science-backed policy work continues to ramp up. September always means a lot of activity, as we prepare for October’s Breast Cancer Prevention Month. See below for updates on both current and new projects you might not have heard of yet.Read More

As summer closes out, BCPP’s advocacy and science-backed policy work continues to ramp up. September always means a lot of activity, as we prepare for October’s Breast Cancer Prevention Month. See below for updates on both current and new projects you might not have heard of yet.

Safer Beauty Bill Package

Federal Cosmetics Legislation

Momentum continues to build for stricter federal cosmetics safety legislation. BCPP is championing a Safer Cosmetics Federal Bill Package to address key areas of cosmetic safety: 1) protections for women of color and salon workers, 2) mandatory fragrance ingredient disclosure, 3) supply chain transparency, and a 4) national ban on the “worst of the worst” chemicals in beauty and personal care products. With bills authored by four diverse, passionate, and powerful female members of Congress, there are now over 100 NGOs and businesses supporting this package. This legislation could play a critical role in reducing our daily exposure to chemicals in the products we use every day and prevent breast cancer and the other chronic diseases that are on the rise. We anticipate that the bill package will be introduced the week of September 20. View the Press Briefing here.

No PFAS in our Food

On to the Governor! CA Safer Food Packaging & Cookware Act

The BCPP-sponsored California Safer Food Packaging & Cookware Act of 2021 (AB 1200 – Ting) continues progressing efficiently through the legislature. Over the past 10 months, we wrote the bill, recruited 4 co-sponsors and 53 organizations, 3 public agency associations and 6 companies/industry organizations to sign on in support of the bill. We negotiated a series of 12 amendments to ensure that the bill language was precise and clear enough to address the concerns of 8 industry associations, from the chemical and paper industries to the Chamber of commerce and retail and restaurant associations.

In tandem, we met with CA legislators and their staffers on both sides of the aisle to ensure that these lawmakers understood this bill’s potential to protect our health by reducing our exposure to PFAS chemicals linked to breast cancer, other diseases, and environmental harm. As a result of all of our outreach, advocacy and negotiations with opposition, AB 1200 passed the Senate floor with near-unanimous bipartisan support and will be moving on to the Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk in the next coming weeks. If passed, AB 1200 would – for the first time in the nation – force disclosure of toxic chemicals in bakeware and cookware and drastically reduce our everyday exposure to toxic PFAS pollution. Learn more about AB 1200.

Safer Black Beauty

Advancing Safer Black Beauty

BCPP is in the midst of a collaborative project, working with scientists and leading non-profit organizations working to improve Black women’s health to develop a list of “safer” Black-owned beauty brands that make/sell/market beauty and personal care products to Black women. Beauty products marketed to women of color contain the most toxic ingredients commonly used by the cosmetics industry, including chemicals linked to breast and ovarian cancer, uterine fibroids, reproductive harm, and more. This toxic exposure is of particular concern to Black women because they purchase and use more beauty products per capita than any other demographic and face many health disparities, including the highest breast cancer mortality rate of any U.S. racial or ethnic group. In addition to creating a list Safer Black Beauty List, we will also create a Retailer Red List of toxic chemicals to avoid in the products retailers sell and work with our partners to conduct outreach, education, and dissemination of the Safer Black Beauty List to local leaders and Black women throughout California. Through this project, we will raise awareness about the hazardous chemicals in ethnic products, equip Black women with a resource they can trust and empower them to make safer choices, train community leaders on how to share the issue and resource with their constituencies, and elevate companies that create safer beauty and personal care products for Black women.

Paths to Prevention

Paths to Prevention Anniversary & Resources

This month is the one-year anniversary of our action plan: Paths to Prevention! While 2022 will be a big year for implementation of the Plan, we continue to develop and promote resources to better serve communities across the state and beyond. Check out our new website buildout on breast cancer risk factors and our published fact sheets on Race, Power & Inequities, Alcohol, and our newest: Breastfeeding.

Balega Grit & Grace

Feeling creative? Submit a Grit & Grace quote!

A longtime partner of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Balega has partnered with us each year to debut a new line of Grit & Grace socks. With inspirational phrases like “Brave Badass,” “Embrace Kindness,” “Defy Gravity,” and “You Are Enough,” Balega imparts its motto that in life, light reflects light, and so do some extraordinary people. Balega is on a mission to prevent breast cancer by encouraging active lifestyles, and for each pair of Grit & Grace socks purchased, $1 goes back to BCPP! Get your pair of this year’s annual Grit & Grace collection.

Peak Hike Kick-off

The wheels are in motion as we get ready for our first hybrid virtual/in-person Peak Hike. To continue building excitement among our hikers, we hosted a free, short Zoom event on Tuesday, September 14, where participants learned more about Peak Hike and how hitting the trails helps save our bodies (and the environment) from toxic chemicals linked to breast cancer. Re-live the party here. It’s not too late to join the team – in person on October 16th, at the Point Bonita YMCA or a favorite trail near you.

With October’s Breast Cancer Prevention Month right around the corner, we’re preparing to finish the rest of the year with a big bang. Thank you for being a big part of our journey and for all that you do to move prevention forward!


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Julie Pofsky BCPP Director of Development

This Make-A-Will Month, Prevent Breast Cancer

This Make-A-Will Month, Prevent Breast Cancer

August is National Make-A-Will Month! In honor of this purposeful occasion, I sat down with estate planning attorney and BCPP Board Member Ellen Kahn. My hope for the interview was to demystify the will-making process and clear up any misconceptions about who should be prioritizing wills on their to-do list.Read More

Interview with estate planning attorney Ellen Kahn, BCPP Board Member and 2X Climb Against the Odds climber

August is National Make-A-Will Month! In honor of this purposeful occasion, I sat down with estate planning attorney and BCPP Board Member Ellen Kahn. My hope for the interview was to demystify the will-making process and clear up any misconceptions about who should be prioritizing wills on their to-do list. If you think will-making is just for those ages 65 and over, think again! 

Research says that only about 30% of Americans have a will. Yet, my guess is that most people would prefer to have their affairs in order and assets protected when it’s their time to go.

Ellen Kahn BCPP Board Member

Estate planning attorney Ellen Kahn, a BCPP Board Member and 2X Climb Against the Odds Climber

Making a will ensures that you protect the people and causes you care about. Not only does it leave your affairs in order for your family, doing so ensures your legacy and the impact you want to leave behind.

So, whether you are 18 or 80, everyone needs a will. And there’s no better moment than now to find some peace of mind in planning for the future.

Ellen, thank you for sitting down to answer these questions for our supporters.

  1. Is making a will still applicable to someone who doesn’t make a lot of money or own property?

Yes, making a will sets out how you want to leave your assets. If you do not make a will, state statutes direct how your assets are distributed when you die. It is always much better to make this decision yourself.

  1. A common thing we hear from people is that their family knows what they want. If this is true, is leaving a will still necessary?

Yes, a will is necessary because it is not your family’s decision where your assets should be distributed. It is your decision. If you do not have a will, it is not up to your family to distribute your assets. The state statutes will control the distribution of your assets. This is particularly important if you are in a second marriage and have children from a first marriage. And if you have minor children and do not direct in a will for assets for them to be held until they reach a certain age, they will receive their inheritance when they are as young as 18. That is rarely a good idea.

  1. Is making a will complicated and does it require a lot of time and expertise?

Each state has its own rules about how to write a will. The more complex your affairs, the more complex the will – you might even need a trust. A will should cover the following topics:

  • Who will receive your assets? Is the distribution of dollar amounts, specific items, or percentages?
  • Who receives the assets if your beneficiary is not alive? Maybe the beneficiary’s children, maybe the other beneficiaries, or maybe one or more charities?
  • If your beneficiary is a minor, should assets be held in a trust until the beneficiary reaches a certain age? Say, 30?
  • Who should be the executor (the person who handles your affairs)?
  • Who will you name as guardian for your minor children?
  1. In addition to including family beneficiaries, can I include a nonprofit in my will or estate plan? Are there extra benefits of doing this?

Yes, you can always name a charity as a beneficiary of your estate plan. If your estate is very large, it will reduce estate taxes.

  1. What else should someone think about in preparing an estate plan?

When doing estate planning, it is important to think through the following:

  • Share with your named executor where you will keep your will.
  • You need other estate planning documents too – such as an Advanced Health Care Directive and a Durable Power of Attorney for Property Management. These documents are important in the event you are ever incapacitated and unable to make your own health care or financial decisions.
  • Make sure you have created a list of your assets so that your executor can step in and handle your affairs rather than looking throughout your house to try and find what you own.
  • If you have passwords or a key to a safe deposit box, make sure that your trusted family members or your executor knows where you keep this confidential information. This is not information to be shared lightly, so be certain you trust the individuals with whom you share this information.
  • Talk with your family members or other trusted members of your circle about your burial or cremation plans. Your family should not have to figure this out following your death.
  • Talk with your health care agent (the person you name in your Advanced Health Care Directive) in advance of illness about your thoughts on end-of-life decision making. Review this issue regularly.

 

Ellen says that you need to be thoughtful about estate planning. These are not easy topics, and most of us do not like talking about our own deaths, or the deaths of those we love. But it is important that we do it. And once we do it, we need to review it every 3 or 4 years, or when something major changes in our lives (such as getting married, having a baby, moving from one state to another, or having a serious illness). The drafting of documents needs to be precise and is best done with a lawyer, although this can be expensive. There are online programs that assist people in writing wills and other estate planning documents, although Ellen does not vouch for any particular company. Some states, such as California, permit an individual to write their own will in their own handwriting without witnesses. This is called a “holographic” will, and the rules for it need to be followed carefully (we are not setting out the rules here). But generally, a will requires witnesses.

In addition to protecting the people you care about, you can combine your desire to support breast cancer prevention with your overall financial, tax, and estate planning goals. You can leave a portion of your estate to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners in your will. A planned gift gives you a special connection to BCPP and will help ensure that we can continue our work for years to come.

Sample Language

Here’s a quick blurb to use:

I bequeath [the sum of _________ dollars] [all the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate] [an amount equal to _____ percent of the remainder of my estate] to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (EIN: 94-3155886), located in San Francisco, CA. 

 

“For me, it never felt quite like the time to consider, let alone start working on a will. I’m 31, healthy, and living life up. And then COVID-19 hit last year. I knew in my heart that now was the time to do it. Both my mom and I decided we would tackle our affairs together and get it done! Getting started was half the battle. But once I found an online service that I could trust working with, the process was smooth sailing. I encourage all to do what makes you feel comfortable and confident for your legacy giving. We went with LegalZoom, but there are many options including finding a local attorney to do most of the work for you. For my mom’s estate planning we needed to complete paperwork for power of attorney, an advanced health care directive, a living trust, and a last will and testament. For myself, I just went with a living trust. The process was easy and painless, and both mom and I felt at ease once we had these documents done. Little did we know, my mama would unexpectedly pass away just a year after signing her estate paperwork. Losing my beautiful and wise mom has been the hardest experience of my life. But because mom was proactive with getting her estate planning done, my little sisters and I don’t have to carry an immense burden of scrambling and stressing to get the probate court what they need. My advice? Take care of yourself, loved ones, and future generations by getting your will done and designate a legacy gift to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners!” 

Erika Wilhelm

BCPP

No matter how much you leave, you want to make sure it goes to the people and causes you care about.

For questions or more information, check out Ways to Give or contact us.

 


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Julie Pofsky BCPP Director of Development

BCPP Bulletin Summer 2021: Science, Policy, Mountains + More

BCPP Bulletin Summer 2021: Science, Policy, Mountains + More

From outdoor events to safer cosmetics and cookware bills, BCPP is proud to give you a full update on what has happened this last quarter thanks to your support. Read More

BCPP Bulletin

From outdoor events to safer cosmetics and cookware bills, BCPP is proud to give you a full update on what has happened this last quarter thanks to your support.

Recap: Our Biggest Climb Against the Odds

From June 9 – 18, two amazing teams of 41 climbers took on BCPP’s annual mountaineering expedition on Mt. Shasta. Our CAO 2020 Redux team has been waiting as long as 2 years to climb for breast cancer prevention. Though faced with many obstacles – including cold temps, high winds, and thunder and lightning – that could easily demoralize any trekker, the 2020 team rallied together closer than ever and gave their best attempt to summit. The weather was kinder to our 2021 team, which featured 3 mother/son duos and two BCPP staff members. 12 climbers summited, and everyone reached their personal high points! Congratulations and thank you to all 41 of our climbers this year, who put in the hard work, determination, and mental and physical strength to create the largest annual Climb Against the Odds BCPP has had in years.  

Read more about our teams’ journey and see stunning photos of the climb: Team CAO 2020 ReduxTeam CAO 2021 

Multiple Federal Cosmetics Bills

A longtime leader in pushing for stricter federal cosmetics legislation, BCPP is spearheading not one, not two, but FOUR bills, and supporting four others, to achieve true comprehensive cosmetic reform. We are excited to share that our bill package to get toxic chemicals out of beauty and personal care products will be introduced in congress the last week of July, followed by an insider press conference on 7/29 to which you are cordially invited to!

Our bill package will focus on critical areas of cosmetic safety reform that have been ignored, are putting the public and workers at risk, and need immediate attention. These bills will 1) ban 11 of the most toxic chemicals on the planet from beauty and personal care products sold in the U.S., including mercury, formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates, phenylenediamines (hair dye chemicals), and the entire class of PFAS “forever” chemicals; 2) require disclosure of the secret, unlabeled, and often toxic fragrance and flavor chemicals hiding in our personal care products; 3) create a set of much-needed federal protections for women of color and professional nail, hair, and beauty salon workers – two extremely vulnerable populations who are over-exposed to toxic cosmetic chemicals given the products they use and/or work with daily; and 4) force supply chain transparency, so cosmetic companies can get the information they need from upstream suppliers in order to make safer products.

Join us at 9AM PDT on Thursday, July 29th: RSVP here.

California Safer Food Packaging and Cookware Act (AB 1200)

BCPP is reigniting our work in the food realm, which includes cosponsoring the California Safer Food Packaging & Cookware Act of 2021 (AB 1200 – Ting), introduced in February 2021. Supported by 4 company/industry associations, 2 public agency associations, and 65 NGOs and counting, this bill would ban paper-based food packaging that contain PFAS chemicals; require cookware manufacturers to disclose the presence of hazardous chemicals, and; prohibit misleading advertising on cookware packaging. AB 1200 has the power to drastically reduce toxic PFAS pollution in our food, bodies, waterways, and communities and make safer, more transparent, cookware shopping easier for consumers throughout CA and potentially the nation. To date, the bill has passed both the Assembly floor and Senate Health Committee! Now we wait for the next stage, the Senate Environmental Quality Committee in July. Learn more about the bill.

How to Find and Read Cleaning Product Ingredients

Do you remember the BCPP-sponsored CA Cleaning Products Ingredient Right to Know Act of 2017? A long-awaited piece of this important legislation went into effect in January 2021: cleaning products sold in California are now required to include a list of ingredients on the product label, providing the crucial information in stores so shoppers can choose safer products. Finding and understanding ingredient lists can be challenging, so we created a brief guide and accompanying video to help familiarize our supporters on the process of researching and reviewing the potential hazards of cleaning product ingredients.

Food and Chemical Alliance – New Website!

At the federal level, BCPP continues to advocate for stricter oversight and regulation of toxic chemicals that are used in processing and packaging materials for food. Much of our work this year has been through our collaborative Food and Chemicals Alliance, led by 8 NGOs demanding that the FDA follow the law and use the latest science to make our food safer. We recently launched a micro website, #ToxicFreeFoodFDA, to educate the public on the issue, urge them to take action, and encourage them to spread the word by sharing eye-catching social graphics.

Peak Hike: NEW location and Save the Date

We’re excited to host a hybrid virtual/in-person Peak Hike this year! Choose a favorite trail near you or come to our in-person event on October 16th, at a new location: The Point Bonita YMCA. This year, we will be hiking a 7-mile route in the Gold Gate National Recreation area. Post-hike, enjoy a delicious lunch and healthy-living expo. Register now with early bird discount code PEAK for $10 off (expires July 31)!

Paths to Prevention: Alcohol

Each month we are highlighting key information from our Breast Cancer Primary Prevention Plan. We recently published a new fact sheet on the topic, a brief video with our Director of Science, and a blog post with tips to reduce your alcohol risk. 

Webinar: Breast Cancer & the Environment

Watch the recent BCPP and AnticancerLifestyle discussion featuring Dr. Sharima Rasanayagam, Ph.D. to learn about environmental exposures, steps to reduce our exposures, and how we can make our communities healthier for all. And check out this nifty infographic

 

Supporter Highlight: Bridget Vanoni

Last you heard, Bridget was preparing to climb Mt. Shasta for her third time, in honor of her mother who passed in 2019 from breast cancer. Bridget joined her mom to challenge Mt. Shasta in 2013 and 2014, after her mom was unable to reach the top in 2012. Together, they hiked, bonded, trained hard and were able to summit both times! This year, Bridget climbed against a woman’s 1 in 8 odds of facing breast cancer with our 2021 team, summitting at 11:28am with her cousin, Kayla. You can see photos of her and her team’s journey here.

 

With so much momentum in the first half of 2021, we look forward to the positive change we can make throughout the rest of the year. Please consider making a donation today.


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Julie Pofsky BCPP Director of Development

Climb Against the Odds 2021: Team 2, June 14-18

Climb Against the Odds 2021: Team 2, June 14-18

Live updates from Mt. Shasta! This inspirational group of 20 volunteer climbers from across the country, featuring 3 mother/son teams, are climbing to challenge the 1 in 8 odds of a woman’s breast cancer diagnosis.Read More

This inspirational team of 21 volunteer climbers from across the country, featuring 3 mother/son duos, climbed 14,175ft. Mt. Shasta to challenge the 1 in 8 odds of a woman’s breast cancer diagnosis. Many climbed in honor of their own or a loved one’s experience with cancer. The team gathered at Northern California’s 14,179 ft. Mt. Shasta and journeyed up the mountain on a 3-day climb.

Event Photos

Donate Now

So far, this team has raised over $149,101 of their $150,000 goal to prevent breast cancer. They are so close! Can you help them reach their goal? 

Day 1 – June 14th, 2021

The 2021 team arrived in Mount Shasta to more rain! Fortunately, the skies are expected to clear, and the team will face the “normal” climb schedule:
• June 15th – Hike to basecamp
• June 16th – Early morning summit attempt, followed by a second night at basecamp.
• June 17th – Return down the mountain.

After receiving goody bags with mountain essentials and some treats, the climbers prepared prayer flags to carry up the mountain on behalf of loved ones, friends, and community members. The flags read:

Following an opening welcome and seed planting ceremony, the climbers heard from a Mount Shasta Ranger and Shasta Mountain Guides to make sure they are prepared for a successful climb. The summit is optional, but returning safe and sound is mandatory. Spirits were high at dinner, as the weather seems to be turning warmer, though nerves were also kicking in. These climbers can’t wait to get going up the mountain.

Beautiful weather, gorgeous views.

Climbers Sandy and Patti.

“Are we doing this whole backpacking thing right?”

Day 2 – June 15th, 2021

Once they’ve packed up and made bag lunches for the trail, the climbers head out to meet with their guides and go through gear check at the 5th Season in Mount Shasta. The guides check to make sure all climbers have the essentials for the mountain, and encourage them to leave behind any unnecessary extras.

Group gear check.

BCPP CEO Amanda packing up.

Game face on!

Gear run down with the guides.

The essential pack.

Shoutout to our sponsors!

Packed & ready to roll.

Team hugs and love!

BCPP staff climbers.

The three groups (Purple, Green, and Orange) hiked from Clear Creek Trailhead at 6,500′ up to Clear Creek Springs Base Camp at 8,200′, about a three hour hike. 

Purple Team

Green Team

Orange Team

The climbers are camped overnight on the mountain at Clear Creek Springs base camp at 8,200 feet in elevation. They’re getting as much rest as they can in preparation for an early rise Wednesday morning to attempt the summit. They enjoyed a beautiful sunset on the mountain, with a view of the shadow of Mt. Shasta.

Sunset shadow Mt shasta Climb Against the Odds 2021

Sunset shadow of Mt. Shasta.

Day 3 – June 16th, 2021

The climbers woke up at 2:30am for a 3:30am start up toward the summit. From base camp it’s about 6,000 feet of elevation over 3.3 miles to the top. Mostly scree (loose pebbles and rocks), they’ll hit some snow as they approach the summit. Let’s go climbers!

All teams launched from base camp between 3:30-4am.

Laura Martinez & Marci Castillo reach their personal high points of 8,200 feet and are safe at base camp.

Sunrise on Mt Shasta Climb Against the Odds BCPP

Pre-dawn ascent.

Morning ascent Climb Against the Odds BCPP 2021

Scree ascent on Clear Creek Trail.

Note: All times listed are dispatch times. Actual time events took place varies due to communication relay lag times. 

4:25am Sara Roush reaches her high point at 9,000 feet.

6:24am Sandy Hanshaw reaches her high point at 10,200 feet.

Way to go climbers! Thank you for your terrific efforts climbing against the odds for breast cancer prevention.

Morning ascent Climb Against the Odds for breast cancer prevention BCPP 2021

Sunrise on Mt. Shasta.

7:17am Linda Helper-Corley and Joanne Starkman reach their high points at 11,100 feet. Amanda Heier reaches her high point at 11,400 feet.

8:30 am Erica Heywood reaches her high point at 12,200 feet.

8:48am Climbers are approaching 13,000 feet.

9:08am Sarah Reines reaches her high points at 12,800 feet.

10:35am Max Starkman, Megan Krieg, and Dwana Strat summit Mt. Shasta at 14,179 feet.

11:22am Mark Victory, Patti Betts, and Andrew Abraham summit Mt. Shasta.

11:28am Bridget Vanoni, Kayla Field, Max Reines, Wreny Blick, and Cristin Bailey summit Mt. Shasta.

12:01pm Ethan Corley rested and is on the move again toward the summit. You’ve got this Ethan!

2:20pm Ethan Corley summits!

4:13pm All climbers are now safe and sound back at base camp. They’ll stay the night there before returning down the mountain tomorrow morning.

Tonight supporters gather together to celebrate the climbers and prepare to welcome their return! 

Congratulations climbers on this incredible feat. Thank you so much for your hard work, determination, and fierce strength in facing this challenge to climb against the odds to prevent breast cancer. 

Mark Victory BCPP Climb Against the Odds Summit Mt Shasta

Mark Victory summits Mt. Shasta.

Bridget Vanoni and Kayla Field summit Mt Shasta Climb Against the Odds Breast Cancer Prevention Partners

Bridget Vanoni and Kayla Field summit Mt. Shasta

Bridget carried the talisman all the way to the top. 

Andrew Abraham North Face summit Mt Shasta Climb Against the Odds Breast Cancer Prevention Partners

Prayer flags at the summit of Mt. Shata.

North Face climber Andrew Abraham flies prayer flags in honor of those affected by breast cancer. The prayer flags read: “The wind carries our prayers of love, healing, and remembrance. May we all be well.”

 

Event Photos

Support the Climbers

Donate & send words of support

Meet all the 2020 Redux and 2021 Climbers

Follow on Social

Check out our Instagram story highlights for more updates on the climbers’ journey! (New to stories? Look below the main profile info and above the square image posts for the CAO Team 1 and CAO Team 2 circles.)

Apply to Climb 2022

Climb Against the Odds is BCPP’s annual mountaineering expedition for breast cancer prevention in Mount Shasta, California.

Climb Against the Odds for breast cancer prevention 2021 Team 2 June 14-18 Mt Shasta
Climb Against the Odds Sponsors 2021


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Emily-Reuman

Climb Against the Odds 2020 Redux Team

Climb Against the Odds 2020 Redux Team

Initially slated to climb Mount Shasta in June of 2020, this team of climbers showed extreme tenacity and flexibility. Faced with obstacles across the board, the CAO 2020 Redux team rallied, and were finally able to gather June 9th – 13th in Mount Shasta, California. See their journey!Read More

Climb Against the Odds, our annual mountaineering expedition for breast cancer prevention, is back! Initially slated to climb Mount Shasta in June of 2020, this team of climbers showed extreme tenacity and flexibility. Faced with obstacles across the board, the CAO 2020 Redux team rallied, and were finally able to gather June 9th – 13th in Mount Shasta, California. 

Photos

Donate

As a group, the team raised over $157,637 and will continue to fundraise through the end of the year. Meet the climbers and donate to help them reach their personal fundraising goals!  

Follow the climbers’ journey below and on our Instagram stories.

Team members of CAO 2020 Redux.

Coming down the mountain.

Day 1 – June 9th, 2021

The CAO 2020 Redux team was greeted by cold temps, thunder and lightning! That didn’t deter this group, though. The team met with a Mount Shasta ranger and Shasta Mountain Guides to get the lay of the land and map out a plan for their climb.  Due to inclement weather, the schedule changed slightly. Instead of attempting their summit in the early morning hours of June 11th, they would instead spend the entirety of the June 11th at basecamp and attempt their summits in the early hours of June 12th, heading all the way back down the mountain in one day.

Team arrives at Mt. Shasta.

Route planning.

Taking in Mt. Shasta’s beauty.

Day 2 – June 10th, 2021

Climbers were up early and met at 6:30am to fuel up on breakfast! They then went to the Shasta Mountain Guides store to hear some final prep, and headed across the street for gear check on the lawn behind the Fifth Season. Climbers were broken into 3 teams, and went through the contents of each of their packs with their guides. In addition to climbing essentials and layers for the cold, guides were looking to ensure everyone had enough food!

Shoutout to our Sponsors!

Clif Bar nom nom nom!

Can’t leave without Buff.

Around 11am, climbers left to make the 1 hour drive to Clear Creek trailhead. The hike to basecamp took 3 hours, and upon arriving, were able to spend some time learning mountain skills, before eating dinner and heading to bed.

Will you show your support and donate to these inspiring climbers?

Team One is off!

Leaving for Basecamp.

Day 3 – June 11th, 2021

Climbers started the day with a short hike before heading back to their tents to, what they thought, would be a short rest. The weather quickly turned, with increasingly high winds, rain, sleet and snow. The majority of the day was spent huddled in their tents, although with any break in the weather, climbers were able to spend time together. Luckily, winds died down just before dinner.

Making their way up.

Before the storm.

Day 4 – June 12th, 2021

The team woke up at midnight to fuel up and start their trek to Mt. Shasta’s summit. The high winds and inclement weather resumed, giving each of the climbers a difficult task of making the trek. Every climber gave their best, but the conditions made it impossible for anyone to summit Mount Shasta. The team had a great attitude, having come down the mountain even more bonded than before. Here are their personal summits: 

Rob Abramowitz– 12,000’ 

Jen Bray – 12,000’ 

Christina Caselli – 10,600’ 

David Cooper – 8,500’ 

Kara Cooper – 10,600’ 

Nicole Cooper – 10,600’ 

Steven Clossick – 11,500’ 

Jamie Earl – 12,400 

Steve Ellis – 12,000’ 

Lindsey Floreani – 11,600’ 

Martin Floreani – 11,600’

Marga Franklin – 8,500’  

Alison Grimm – 12,000’ 

Alex Grishaver – 11,500’ 

Laura Grishaver – 11,500’ 

Pam Keefe – 12,000’

Susan Scott – 12,000’  

Josh Quigley – 12,400’ 

Linor Vaknin – 12,000’ 

Kevin Walker – 12,300’ 

Wendy Young – 8,850’ 

Check out the view!

After returning down the mountain safely, as promised by Shasta Mountain Guides, the team had their afternoon to prepare for the celebration that evening! While smaller than normal, the guides and climbers celebrated their successful climb over a delicious dinner.  

Day 5 – June 13th, 2021

The group convened one more time before heading back home. Following breakfast, climbers reflected on their experience leading up to, and on the mountain. After a tumultuous year, the 2020 team breathed a collective sigh of relief, paying tribute to a unique experience that bonded them together.

These climbers have poured their hearts and souls into this expedition. They’ve trained for the climb of a lifetime, while becoming vital ambassadors for breast cancer prevention.

How You Can Help

Their goal is to collectively raise $350K between the two teams this year, and they’re almost there! Will you show your support?

Until next time, Mt. Shasta.

Apply to Climb 2022

Climb Against the Odds is BCPP’s annual mountaineering expedition for breast cancer prevention in Mount Shasta, California.

Support BCPP Climbers!

The Sponsors who help make this happen!


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Erika Wilhelm_BCPP

Letter from Bridget Vanoni, Climb Against the Odds Team 2021

Letter from Bridget Vanoni, Climb Against the Odds Team 2021

BCPP taught my mom that certain chemicals, diet, and other environmental exposures might increase the risk of a future breast cancer diagnosis for her young daughters, and it was through BCPP that she learned and became empowered to make informed choices about how to keep us as safe and healthy as she could. My mom’s support for BCPP was her gift to us. And that’s why supporting BCPP is so important to me.Read More

Letter from Climber Bridget Vanoni, Climb Against the Odds Team 2021 

On my fourth birthday, my mom was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. She was just 36 years old. 10 years later, her cancer returned. This time the diagnosis was devastating – Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer to her bones and lungs. On February 26, 2019, I lost not only my mom to breast cancer, I lost my best friend and the person in my life I loved the most.

When my mom got sick, her greatest wish was to ensure a healthy and disease-free future for me and my twin sister – especially since she was unsure about her own future. That’s when she learned about Breast Cancer Prevention Partners.

Mom and me at Mt. Shasta

BCPP taught my mom that certain chemicals, diet, and other environmental exposures might increase the risk of a future breast cancer diagnosis for her young daughters, and it was through BCPP that she learned and became empowered to make informed choices about how to keep us as safe and healthy as she could.

My mom’s support for BCPP was her gift to us.

And that’s why supporting BCPP is so important to me.

My mom put her trust in BCPP as the only national organization solely focused on the science linking breast cancer to chemicals in our everyday lives. She knew how important it is to find out what causes breast cancer so that she could protect her daughters from getting it.

Today, BCPP continues to guide my everyday decision-making by translating the science and making it easier for people like me to live a healthier life. If BCPP tells me that toxic chemicals are in a specific shampoo or product, I stay clear of it, knowing that I am potentially making a life-saving decision about what I put in and on my body.

Will you join me in advancing BCPP’s work to get toxic chemicals out of places they don’t belong like our food, air, water, workplaces, and communities? 

Me and my twin sister Mia

Leslie on top of the world

My mom on top of the world

In 2021, a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer in the U.S. is 1 in 8. Yet, 8 out of 10 women who are diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease. Meanwhile, thousands of untested, unsafe chemicals enter our homes, products, and bodies each and every day.

Your gift supports the science that drives innovative educational programs like BCPP’s Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. It enables BCPP to continue to shape policy reform at the local, state, and federal levels by co-authoring groundbreaking legislation to advance a comprehensive approach to breast cancer prevention, protecting the health of all people – not just in California, but across the nation.

BCPP’s interventions reduce risk, improve the environment, and increase the safety of our products, while reducing health disparities for people in vulnerable communities. But we need your continued support. 

On June 14, just four days after I graduate from college, I will be participating in BCPP’s Climb Against the Odds event in Mt. Shasta. I will be joined by a team of breast cancer survivors and supporters and, for the first time since climbing with her in 2013 and 2014, I will be tackling the mountain without my mom. It will be an emotional experience for me, but it will also be one of the most fulfilling experiences of my entire life – and I know my mom will be right by my side every step of the way.

Me and mom at Climb

I hope you will join me!

I will never stop missing my mom, but by supporting BCPP I can continue to honor her legacy – to educate more people about the connection between breast cancer prevention and environmental health. That is why I’m inviting you to do the same. Can you join me on this journey by making your most generous gift today?

My mom believed that together, we have the power to eliminate the environmental causes of breast cancer and achieve a future where no mother, aunt, sister, or daughter will have to hear the words, “you have breast cancer.” Please join me in supporting BCPP.

With gratitude,

Bridget Vanoni

PS: Your donation is an investment in a healthier, less toxic future for all people. Support prevention with me and give generously today.

PPS: You can follow my journey up Mt. Shasta this June 14-18. 


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How to Find and Read Cleaning Product Ingredients

How to Find and Read Cleaning Product Ingredients

If you’re concerned about the safety of the chemicals in the cleaning products you bring into your home, you’re probably familiar with trying to decipher the sometimes confusing or complicated labeling. Still, if you learn the basics of decoding cleaning product labels, you’ll find the essential information you need to identify and avoid chemicals linked to breast cancer and other harmful health effects. Read More

By BCPP Senior Policy Director Nancy Buermeyer 

If you’re concerned about the safety of the chemicals in the cleaning products you bring into your home, you’re probably familiar with trying to decipher the sometimes confusing or complicated labeling. Still, if you learn the basics of decoding cleaning product labels, you’ll find the essential information you need to identify and avoid chemicals linked to breast cancer and other harmful health effects.

Until very recently, there was no requirement for companies to disclose the ingredients in cleaning products (except for the active ingredients in disinfectants). Most cleaning products were a black box, with marketing claims like ‘natural’ and ‘environmentally friendly,’ and no way for us to verify those claims by checking the full ingredient list.

And then, the CA Cleaning Products Ingredient Right to Know Act of 2017 cracked opened that black box of secrecy. As of January 2021, cleaning products sold in California are required to include a list of ingredients on the product label, providing the crucial information in stores so shoppers can choose safer products. More detailed ingredient information has been available on cleaning product websites since the beginning of 2020.

A critical, lesser-understood side effect of ingredient labels is that they encourage companies to make safer products by removing toxic chemicals from their formulations, which is great for those of us shopping for safer, nontoxic cleaning products!

We know that finding and understanding ingredient lists can be challenging, so we created a new report to help: Opening the Black Box: A Guide to Cleaning Product Ingredients. Along with our accompanying video (see below), the guide walks you through the process of researching and reviewing the potential hazards of cleaning product ingredients.

We hope you find these resources helpful!

Check out this video, How to Find Cleaning Product Ingredients: 

Video Transcript (coming soon)

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Does Drinking Alcohol Increase Your Risk of Breast Cancer?

Does Drinking Alcohol Increase Your Risk of Breast Cancer?

I know, you don’t want me to say it. You enjoy wine with dinner. And those Happy Hour cocktails.Read More

Interview with BCPP Chief Scientist Dr. Sharima Rasanayagam by Volunteer Andrea Dannenberg 

I know, you don’t want me to say it. You enjoy wine with dinner. And those Happy Hour cocktails. I get it: drinking is a huge part of our culture. And maybe you’re someone who is drinking more during the pandemic. But, what’s the health cost? I sat down with BCPP’s Director of Science Dr. Sharima Rasanayagam to discuss drinking alcohol and breast cancer risk. Check out our short video where she explains why drinking increases breast cancer risk and how we can all reduce that risk. See full video transcript below.

See the full video transcript below. 

Our latest Factsheet summarizes the links between drinking alcohol and breast cancer risk. BCPP’s Paths to Prevention: The California Breast Cancer Primary Prevention Plan identifies alcohol consumption as one of 23 risk factors for developing breast cancer. When comparing drinkers to non-drinkers, studies found a 22% increased risk of breast cancer for those who drink. Another study estimated that 8% of breast cancer diagnoses are due to alcohol consumption. The research is also pretty clear that the more we drink, the greater our breast cancer risk. You can read more about the research in the Glossary of Exposures page on Alcohol. Here are some tips to consider to reduce breast cancer risk from alcohol for yourself and those you love.

Have One Less Drink

If I told you not to drink ever again, would you listen? Probably not, right? So instead, I’m going to suggest that you have one less drink. Maybe that means having one less drink tonight. Or maybe that means having one drink less over the course of this week or this month. Whatever that means for you, do it. Any reduction in alcohol consumption will reduce your breast cancer risk. 

young women drinking whiskey from bottles

Avoid Binge Drinking

Binge drinking (four or more drinks at one time) is common, especially among young people. Breast cancer risk is just one of the negative effects of binge drinking. Binge drinkers have a 29% higher risk of breast cancer compared to those who have low levels of drinking. So, when you choose to drink, please try to limit your consumption.

Be an Ally

We have all been at social gatherings where someone passes on a drink. How often do we hear people make a joke and reoffer or ask why they aren’t drinking? Maybe you’ve done it, too. “Oh, come on, just one drink!” Next time, be mindful that people don’t drink for many reasons—religion, health, personal or family history of addiction, etc. They don’t owe an explanation. Be supportive. Instead, if you’re hosting a social event, have plenty of non-alcoholic options available for your guests. Or consider not offering alcohol at all. A mocktail, juice, coffee or hot chocolate bar can still make an event feel special without the health risks. And, if you’re a guest, reconsider bringing alcohol to share.

Learn More

You can read more about the alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk on BCPP’s webpage on the topic. The folks at the Alcohol Research Group (ARG) of the Public Health Institute created an easy to understand website addressing this topic. You might also check out their posts on social media using #drinklessforyourbreasts. This page from the National Institute of Health also provides some tips on how to reduce your alcohol consumption.

Video Transcript

Andrea (00:02): Hello, we’re here today to talk about breast cancer risk and alcohol. My name is Andrea Dannenberg and I’m a volunteer with BCPP.

Sharima (00:11): Hi, Andrea and everybody out there. I’m Sharima Rasanayagam and I am the Director of Science at Breast Cancer Prevention Partners.

Andrea (00:19): So my first question for Sharima is a doozy. Does drinking alcohol cause breast cancer?

Sharima (00:27): All right. Well, for one thing, I never say that something causes breast cancer. I will say unfortunately, drinking alcohol does increase your risk of a breast cancer diagnosis. There’s a really large body of evidence and multiple studies showing that women who drink alcohol are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than those who do not. And that the more you drink, the higher your risk. The good news is that any reduction in alcohol consumption reduces your risk of breast cancer. But as I say, the reason I don’t ever say that something causes breast cancer is that breast cancer is what we call a multifactorial disease. There’s no single thing that causes any cancer and a really important that nobody blamed themselves for their own cancer diagnosis. So there are lots of risk factors that add up that can result in a diagnosis, and these can include genetics and family history, diet and exercise, environment and environmental exposures linked to the disease. And then some of these are totally out of our control. Some we can make individual decisions about and some we need to work collectively to address, which is something that BCPP really focuses on.

Andrea (01:44): Great. Well, thank you for that explanation. That’s really helpful. Can you give us a very layman’s explanation of why drinking alcohol increases breast cancer risk?

Sharima (01:57): Well, so what we’ve seen is associations between drinking alcohol and, and increased rates of breast cancer. And a lot of research has gone into what might be these mechanisms. And there’s a few that have really come to the fore. First of all, when we drink alcohol, our body breaks it down into what’s called metabolites, and the main one is acid aldehyde. And that is actually a carcinogen, which is a chemical that is known to cause cancer. So it’s these toxic metabolites of alcohol are a real issue. The other thing specifically for the breast cancer is that drinking alcohol also increases a woman’s estrogen levels in their body. And we know that higher levels of estrogen have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer, particularly, estrogen receptor positive breast cancers. And then there’s, a little bit, there is some concern over folate levels because when you drink alcohol, it’s more difficult for your body to absorb folate from, from your diet, like leafy green vegetables and stuff. And there’s emerging evidence of that may also be linked to increased cancer risk.

Andrea (03:08): Wow. So that’s pretty complicated, but I’m glad that you could break it down for us into a little bit more understandable language. What can women do to reduce their alcohol-related breast cancer risk?

Sharima (03:21): Well, you can reduce your intake of alcohol. The less you drink and it’s been shown that the less you drink the lower your risk. There are emerging research looking at binge drinking and seeing that that might be even worse than, than regular drinking. But as much as you can do to minimize your intake of alcohol, that will decrease your alcohol-related risk of breast cancer and, and a bunch of other health effects.

Andrea (03:47): Okay. So knowing what you know about alcohol and breast cancer risk, do you drink alcohol?

Sharima (03:53): I do, but very occasionally. And I must admit since doing, since starting in this job and seeing the information on alcohol, I have really reduced my intake of alcohol. I do not drink now regularly or, or normally, but I still do have a glass of wine on a very special occasion.

Andrea (04:13): Great! Well, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us today and addressing this really important topic.

Sharima (04:19): Thank you, Andrea.


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Andrea-Dannenberg_BCPP-Volunteer-and-Breast-cancer-survivor
Happy friends holding each other

Most cases of breast cancer are preventable.

October is Breast Cancer PREVENTION Month. Let's stop breast cancer before it starts.

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