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The NFL's Pink October Does Not Raise Money for Cancer Research

hot 49ers cheerleader NFL Pink October Does Not Raise Money for Cancer Research VICE Sports


If you're a football fan—and, y'know, a good human being—you've probably once in the last six years been lured into buying the NFL's Pink October paraphernalia and then slept well thinking about your contribution to the league's effort to "help fight breast cancer."

In which case, this might keep you awake: The month-long campaign that paints everything from player's shoes to fields to penalty flags pink, doesn't actually result in a single dollar donated to breast cancer research. Yup, not a penny.

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Maybe they should do an ice bucket challenge?

The problem is that the NFL insists on donating the money to the American Cancer Society, which is a marketing organization that advertises Breast Cancer Awareness and tells women to screen annually.

The problem with that is that annual exams are no longer considered best practice or even helpful:

"Screening doesn't save lives and screening mammography … is different from diagnostic mammography," Jagger says. "The NFL has no business providing medical advice to women that is outdated, unproven, and misguided."

Jagger quotes well-regarded and independently conducted research that shows screening mammography has no overall impact on survival rates of women with the disease. The most substantive mammography research, a study that followed 100,000 women for 25 years, concluded that annual screening does not result in a reduction in breast cancer specific mortality for women over 40 in any way that goes beyond physical examination. These screenings are the mainstay and only measurable aspect of the NFL's A Crucial Catch campaign, which Jaggar says is spreading an outdated message about early detection.

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