VANCOUVER – Julie Budgen turned pale when she first spotted the Pink Ribbon logo on packaging for chemical-laced household cleansers and candy spiked with artificial colors.

The ever-present symbol for breast cancer awareness was raising necessary research dollars, but in her view it got here at the fee of promoting products jam-packed with known carcinogens.

Friends of the environmental consultant and biologist had the identical response.

“When you’re using these chemicals, you’re absorbing them into your skin and that’s going into your body,” said the 37-year-old, recalling the experience seven years back. “We realized there’s a disconnect between our bodies, the environment and cancer.”

In order that they stitched up a twist to the favored movement and created the Pink and Green Ribbon campaign.

To create positive buzz, they got cheeky.

They fashioned temporary tattoos. They delivered a “boobs-shaped” cake to Oprah. A dance instructor choreographed the “healthy breasts dance,” a high-energy routine that gets circulation flowing within the chest.

The grassroots initiative bloomed, and its Canmore, Alta.-based founders put efforts into cancer prevention through education.

Their two-pronged approach involves maintaining healthy breasts while raising awareness about environmental aspects potentially related to disease. Other volunteer directors include a naturopath and a doula, and more advice comes from longtime naturopaths who concentrate on breast health, Patricia Wales, based in Calgary, and Sat Kaur, based in Owen Sound, Ont.

As an alternative of harping on breast cancer, they harmonize about breast care.

“One word we coined was ‘ta-boobs,’” Budgen said. “We discuss stuff that individuals may not be comfortable talking about. Just like the ‘breast jiggle’ and getting women to really touch their boobs and learning about breast massage.”

To maintain the momentum rolling, the campaign has launched a contest asking women aged 17 to 30 to submit creative four-minute or shorter videos that highlight pink-and-green values.

They’re hoping the message goes viral.

Two scholarships of $1,000 each shall be awarded for the most effective videos, and entries are encouraged from across the globe. Submissions shall be posted on Twitter, Facebook and, the web site that gives a library of resources illustrating strategies they imagine any woman can use.

Developing a day by day breast-care routine must be a top priority for ladies aiming to scale back their likelihood of developing breast cancer, Budgen said.

The group suggests women do regular breast self-exams, alternate water temperatures while within the shower to advertise circulation and dry brush their skin towards the center, which they imagine helps the lymphatic system drain toxins.

Additionally they encourage women to wear bras that allow their breasts to maneuver a little bit and to perform the “breast jiggle,” gently lifting breasts and moving them from side-to-side.

Carolyn Gotay, who makes a speciality of cancer prevention on the University of British Columbia and is an affiliate scientist with the B.C. Cancer Agency, runs a prevention and risk-assessment clinic on the B.C. Women’s Hospital in Vancouver.

She said upwards of fifty per cent of breast cancer diagnoses are preventable, with genetic aspects accounting for less than five to 10 per cent. Nonetheless, she said a large body of research points to creating a unique set of lifestyle decisions than those espoused by the pink-and-green campaign relating to prevention.

The list includes managing obesity, a significant risk factor for ladies after menopause; increasing physical activity; reducing alcohol consumption, because even a small amount of drinking can increase risk; recognizing the potential dangers linked to hormone alternative therapy; and interesting in breastfeeding, a protective factor for the mother.

Gotay said the connection between the physical environment and health – and cancer specifically – is “understudied,” namely since it’s so difficult to measure exposure.Science doesn’t yet have the power to trace people for an unlimited range of variables over lengthy time periods.

Studies which have attempted to seek out links between health and environmental aspects haven’t developed strong evidence, she said.

“Which doesn’t mean they aren’t there, it just means for the moment most scientists probably would say we don’t know enough to essentially say that’s where people should put their major emphasis,” said Gotay. “We do know so much about obesity and physical activity, and we all know that explains a complete lot, so why not go where you get the largest bang to your effort and energy?”

She said most cancer organizations around the globe now not recommend “routinized” breast self-exams, because they don’t reduce mortality rates and result in more unnecessary biopsies. Many agencies and organizations, including the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, have publicly stated there isn’t a credible scientific evidence that wearing a bra is a risk factor for cancer, she added.

Knowing your body and talking to your doctor about changes is significant, she said, but science doesn’t back up the campaign’s other suggestions.

“You may do all the proper things and you’ll be able to still get breast cancer,” Gotay said. “It might probably be very damaging if people feel that they’ve done all this stuff they usually still get breast cancer and it’s their fault – since it’s not.”

Budgen said the campaign’s position is that not all the pieces is as “cut and dried” as prevailing wisdom suggests.

“We’re attempting to help reduce fear so people feel confident of their bodies.”

Whether following the natural practices of Eastern medicine or the established Western canon, Ayisha Remtulla believes women can proactively take part in their very own health.

“Growing up, we learn easy things like the right way to maintain our teeth, what happens whenever you get your period,” said Remtulla, an occupational therapist and campaign volunteer in Vancouver. “But we never learn the right way to maintain our breasts – that’s the one thing no person ever talks about.”

The 29-year-old was close to a few women who died from breast cancer. She knows one other two who were treated and recovered.

“They were very strong, independent women,” she said. “(But) they really just followed the normal Western medicine route. That they had never heard about any options.”

Remtulla shaved her head last April to lift money for the campaign and to have fun women’s health.

“I desired to make an announcement,” she said. “It’s not about your hair or your boobs or the way you look. I felt like it will create a chance for conversation … about pink and green.”

The campaign is paired with the Alberta-based Mary A. Tidlund Charitable Foundation and supported by the Rocky Mountain Soap Company. The deadline for scholarship applications is March 15, with videos due by April 2.

Note to readers: This can be a corrected story. An earlier version said studies show that wearing a bra will not be a risk factor for breast cancer.


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