The Madeleine Brand Show is a daily, two-hour program that looks at news and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by Madeleine Brand

The big business of breast cancer awareness

Pink breast cancer ribbons
Pink breast cancer ribbons
Kai Chan Vong/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

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That pink, twisted ribbon. See it and you automatically think about breast cancer. In fact, the branding of breast cancer awareness has become a multi-million dollar a year industry. And the biggest player is the non-profit group Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Komen suffered a major setback a few months ago when it initially decided to stop funding Planned Parenthood's breast cancer screening. Amid heavy criticism, Komen then rescinded that decision. But the public relations damage was done.

Now, donations and attendance at Komen's race for the cure events have dropped significantly.

A new documentary out today in Los Angeles called "Pink Ribbons, Inc." reveals just how entwined Komen and other breast cancer charities are with commerce.

The documentary is based on a book called "Pink Ribbons, Inc.: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy" by Samantha King. She joins the show to discuss Komen and the breast cancer awareness industry.


Samantha King is the author of the book "Pink Ribbons, Incorporated: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy."