Breast Cancer Action Quebec is a non-profit advocacy group directed by women who have been sensitized to the trauma of breast cancer and who are committed to prevention and the reduction of the incidence of this disease.

The focus of breast cancer research must move beyond its current emphasis on treatment to also embrace a serious search for the causes of the disease and its prevention. BCAQc promotes and supports the adoption of the Precautionary Principle as a guideline for action. The Precautionary Principle is a safety-first premise that states that, when there are reasonable scientific grounds for believing a process or product may not be safe, even when cause-and-effect relationships are not fully understood, preventive action must be taken.

How is BCAQc different from other breast cancer organizations?

While applauding the accomplishments of other breast cancer organizations, BCAQc is concerned that over 95% of the funds raised for research into breast cancer are devoted to improvements in screening and treatment, leaving little for research into the causes of this disease. BCAQc strives to put the spotlight on the reasons why breast cancer develops and why more women are being diagnosed. Our hope is that, one day, breast cancer can be stopped before it starts.

Why doesn’t BCAQc accept contributions from pharmaceutical companies?

In order to provide unbiased information about the primary prevention of breast cancer, its diagnosis and treatment, BCAQc must be free of any appearance of conflict of interest. Accordingly, BCAQc will not accept financial support from corporate entities whose products or services are known to BCAQc to include cancer diagnosis or treatment. (For more information on this, see BCAQc’s Policy on Corporate Contributions.)

Jennifer Beeman, Director, Breast Cancer Action Quebec
Written in response to Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I am in a strange situation. I am director of a breast cancer organization and I really don’t know what “promoting awareness” of breast cancer means.

Does it mean repeating the fact that one in nine women in Canada will receive a diagnosis of breast cancer at some time in her life? Even when this tells us nothing of what is being done to bring down that statistic (very little)?

Repeating “early diagnosis saves lives”? Even though this doesn’t explain to women that early diagnosis leads to a serious problem of overdiagnosis, which women really don’t understand and about which we are doing very little?

Repeating that we should “run for the cure”? Though this does nothing to prevent our daughters and granddaughters getting the disease?

This is how you work for prevention.

It seems that “awareness” ultimately says nothing particularly useful but makes us try to feel good, “give back” or feel that we are maybe in solidarity with women facing the disease.

This is like being in solidarity with poor women and not fighting for a minimum wage of $15/hour.

This is like being in solidarity with women victims of sexual violence without talking about rape culture or holding men responsible for their actions.

This is like being in solidarity with women of diverse origins without making sure they advance to positions of power and the jobs for which they are fully qualified.

Prevention of breast cancer is the hard fight.

It means taking on government regulations regarding the toxic substances we allow into our environment.

It means taking on companies and corporations who make products harmful to human health and that degrade our environment but who give generously to cancer foundations.

It means working with young people and women from all communities about their health, the environment and healthcare in a truly empowering manner.

True prevention of breast cancer has little to do with awareness. It is about fighting for systemic change to create healthy communities for healthy people.

Breast cancer prevention is not awareness, it is environmental health justice.