Monday, July 16, 2012


I'm in the awareness raising game as one part of my blogging adventure.  Later this month, in Madison Lake, MN there will be a bikini parade.  It is being held by the owner of a tanning salon.  She hopes to break the record for the largest Bikini Parade.  The problem?  This is all in the name of raising awareness for breast cancer.  I'm certain I don't need to explain why it is disgusting and disgraceful to use bikini's to promote breast cancer awareness.  SERIOUSLY?????  Who is this woman and where the F*k does she come off thinking this is okay.  Unless she is scarred like those of us indoctrinated into The Club, if this parade takes place, I hope there will be a massive amount of breast cancer patients on the sidelines in protest over the exploitation of THE DISEASE known as Breast Cancer.

The funds that are raised will either be going toward the cost of the T-shirt or will be donated.  Shall we go a step further and add insult to injury? She is raising money for an organization that promotes Natural Prevention of Breast Cancer. PREVENTION??????  That word.  It's nails on a chalkboard.  But wait, this is the mother of all Ginsu Knives.  There's more! Their particular brand of quackery and snake oil involves correcting our Vitamin D deficiency as a means to killing cancer cells and thus "eliminating the need to cure what you can prevent."  And how is this achieved?  Well, the melanoma crowd will just love this:  through exposure to direct sunlight!  This is definitely quite high on my personal "You Can't Make This Shit Up" list.  The website is  I have no idea how many people are following this line of sheer and utter bullshit but just one person is one person too many.

Advocates, activists, scholars, patients, warriors, survivors, militants...... No matter where you stand on the breast cancer landscape, THIS is the type of activity over which we should all be screaming our outrage.  Collectively.  Unified.  We can debate language and corporate donors but until we make headway with this kind of crap, in my most humble opinion, we are getting too far ahead of ourselves.  FIRST, we have to come together....... all of us.... to put a stop to THIS.  THEN and only then, can we move on to the intelligent conversations we should be having.  We need to show those whose comments are clearly ignorant and insensitive precisely WHY this is so offensive and egregious.

The article that I read is reprinted below.  Highlights and emphasis are mine.  Wit by the journalist is duly noted in the sub-titles: A 2-Piece Idea and Scanty Science.  It took every ounce of restraint for me to keep from inserting a sarcastic remark after almost every statement made by Cynthia Frederick.

After you read the article, here are a few other links I found including a Facebook page where perhaps some of you might attempt to speak your mind.  I'm guessing the comments will be deleted but it's worth a shot....

Mankato Free Press

MyFox9 (complete with a clickable photo)


CDC Information about Skin Cancer which includes the following factual information:

Avoid Indoor Tanning

Using a tanning bed, booth, or sunlamp to get tan is called "indoor tanning." Indoor tanning has been linked with skin cancers including melanoma (the deadliest type of skin cancer), squamous cell carcinoma, and cancers of the eye (ocular melanoma).

Reprinted below, the Actual article can be found here. :
Madison Lake: Bikini parade marchers raise eyebrows
Cynthia Frederick thought it would be fun to gather several hundred women to march in rural Madison Lake, Minn., in what she's billing as the World's Largest Bikini Parade.

The Mankato tanning-salon owner envisions it as a sun-drenched fundraiser for breast cancer prevention that would raise public awareness of the health benefits of higher vitamin D levels.  "It just seemed like a natural fit to be able to raise public awareness of the importance of higher vitamin D levels," said Frederick, owner of the Electric Beach tanning salon in Mankato.

To the Madison Lake City Council, this entry in the July 28 Paddlefish Days parade is not in keeping with a family tone.

"This parade shouldn't have this image," Councilman Chuck Ries said.

Frederick is hoping to break the world record for number of bikini-clad marchers in a parade, which was set earlier this year in Florida at 450.

But city council members also are concerned about the charity that will benefit from the walk, called the Breast Cancer Natural Prevention Foundation. According to its website, the group advocates cancer prevention through sun exposure and higher vitamin D levels.

Ries said he's not a doctor, but tanning as a cancer-fighting activity is "inconsistent with (his) understanding" of the science.

Despite their opposition -- four of five city council members oppose the bikini walk, the Lake Region Times reported July 11 -- it doesn't appear the council can prevent them from taking to the streets. Madison Lake City Administrator Kelly Steele checked with the League of Minnesota Cities, which told her that it can't bar specific parade entries.

Frederick said she has been surprised by the opposition, but said rumors around town have been spreading misinformation"Whenever you're going to do something new, people have a tendency to be scared, especially when they don't have information," she said.


The idea for the bikini walk has been rolling around in Frederick's head for a few years, ever since she saw a report about a similar event in Australia.  "I remember thinking, 'That sounds like a really fun thing to do,'" she said.

While all that exposed skin is raising eyebrows in Madison Lake, population 1,017, it has a business and health tie-in to Frederick.  She said medical studies have shown the cancer benefits of higher vitamin D levels "through exposing your skin to UVB light in a nonburning fashion."

"That's what we have always practiced at the salon," she said. "We want to help people achieve color a healthy way."

"What's really sad is so many people -- young women and older people -- are very deficient in their D3 (vitamin D) levels. It can prevent a lot of health issues that we are facing in the world today," Frederick said.

Walkers in the parade, including men and women not wearing bikinis, are paying $20 to $25 to participate, which will go to the charity and offset costs for T-shirts (presumably to be worn afterward).
Frederick settled on the July 28 parade because she thought national media, in the area to cover Vikings training camp starting July 26, would cover the parade.

Frederick said the complaints about two-piece swimsuits remind her of the movie Footloose, in which a small town bans dancing and rock music.  "They are a lake city, they have several beaches," she said. "You can go down to the beach at any time and you're going to see people in bikinis."

Ries, the council member, said "our view is that takes the issue out of context."  A beach, he said, is different from a parade with scores of marchers in bikinis.  "If you want to wear a bikini in the lake, more power to you," he said.  And the connection to preventing breast cancer, he said, is artificial.
"We think it's for business publicity more than anything else," Ries said.

Madison Lake's police chief, Dan Bunde, told the Lake Region Times he was worried the city's three police officers could be faced with an unmanageable event.  "Paddlefish Days are my three worst days of the year," he said.


The Breast Cancer Natural Prevention Foundation's website trumpets studies showing a relationship between higher vitamin D levels and reduced rates of cancer.  Dr. James Benzmiller, a dermatopathologist at the Mankato Clinic, said studies have shown a relationship between lower vitamin D rates and higher cancer rates. But science "has never proven that a lack of vitamin D causes cancer."

Benzmiller acquired his specialty after receiving more training about how to identify skin diseases. He said most of his job is looking at slides of skin under a microscope, often searching for cancer.  But even if vitamin D is eventually proven to prevent cancer, Benzmiller said he won't recommend patients start tanning -- either outside or in a bed.  Instead, he said people should get their vitamin D from a dietary source such as fortified cereal, oily fish and supplements.

What's wrong with getting it from the sun?

Benzmiller said it's simple: "There is no safe threshold of ultraviolet exposure."  "Basically, UV radiation, whether it's from a tanning bed or the sun, causes oncogenic (cancer-causing) radiation. ... It's not conjecture, it's fact."

Madison Lake's mayor, Kenneth Reichel, said "I'm totally for the walk for cancer, and I can't emphasize that enough."  But he's concerned that he's unable to find much information about the nonprofit. Its website,, does not say who is behind the group.  Reichel worries the event will end up being "a black mark on Madison Lake."

Frederick said there were similar concerns before other bikini parades, and they proved to be unfounded.  "It's not like it's illegal, immoral or unethical. I think they're going to find this was not the bogeyman they're making it out to be."

Oh Cynthia, I beg to differ.  What you are attempting to do is HIGHLY unethical on so many levels.

PostScript July 29, 2012.  The event was a "bust" as only 39 showed up...
From the local news!


  1. OMG - you have got to be kidding me! This is SOOOO WRONG on so many levels and offensive as hell. As far as I can tell, no money will be raised for breast cancer and they're handing out false "medical" information. And how many of us that have had BC can even wear bikinis now? Sure, let's have a parade of boobs to raise awareness! What a load of crap. Sorry, AnneMarie - this really got me riled up!!

    1. I've been riled up since last night when I was reading and typing and ..... yeah... I'm with you. OFFENSIVE on every level. Thanks, Ellen! Always appreciate knowing I'm not overreacting. I tend to do that but I can't find a single thing in this entire story that is redeeming on any level to those of us with breast cancer diagnoses or to those of us trying to see what we can do to stop death from this disease or from seeing the next generation spared....

  2. I am in no way affiliated with the tanning salon or city, just saw this link to your page from a post on

    It appears to me you and your members here are angry and lashing out at an attempt to raise awareness of breast cancer, having fun, and getting natural sunlight to increase vitamin D3 levels. I get why you are upset based on your belief that this march is a stunt and nothing more. Putting this march aside, I wonder if you and your members believe in ANY alternative healing aids outside the realm of a doctors office?

    Have you considered/researched/tried ANY holistic or natural therapies? I wholeheartedly believe chemo and all related pharmaceutical grade potions and poisons are nothing but killers themselves that only exist to profit from unhealthy people who develop cancer. I say this with a straight face. It is my conclusion that chemo causes FAR more problems and does not cure anybody. Remission may mean peace of mind, but what is brewing in ones body after the fact and especially what if that patient goes back to the same or similar lifestyle habits? I will NEVER trust Western medicine cancer is purely disgusting and inhumane in what they offer as "treatment." The side effects are terrible and why should anybody have to suffer like that willingly? Not me!

    What about Graviolia extract, vitamin B 17, a high level of vitamin D3 in one's body, drinking healthy water that is alkaline...avoidance of most processed foods and TSA body scanners, etc?

    Do you stand as firm and furious as well on the whole "pink ribbon" fund raising? Do you know that this effort is a racket and only a fraction of a dollar goes to "research." I am curious as so many are entrained/brainwashed into only considering "mainstream science." WHY? Would you consider you and I and all others are led to believe what's good for us is told only by the doctors whom prescribe big pharma meds is good, ALL else is bad and "pseudo-science?" Do you realize that health and nutrition are NOT key components of a doctor's education?

    Would you believe that anti-gravity propulsion is real? It is, but would that blow your mind? This example is NOT known publicly and NOT accepted or studied by "mainstream science." Proof? Research Dr. Paul LaViolette. Another example, a compound called Miracle Mineral Solution has cured many diseases as well, yet "mainstream science" denounces and ridicules this.

    Also, a retired audio engineer developed a cancer killing method of using nano-gold particles that hitch a ride on some protein or something that only cancer cells use and then with a burst of non-harmful or felt microwave radiation, the cancer cells with the gold particles heat up and kill the cancer cells...don't remember the name of the inventor off hand, but I wonder if you have heard of this or consider ANY other methods of killing cancer and otherwise preventing it?

    I am sick of big pharma and government propping up pills and potions that cure hardly anything, yet all these compounds come from nature...NATURE, so any holistic methods start from nature!

    Just some thoughts!?

  3. Speechless. My first thought? Let's get the SCAR Project out there! Or better, a TOPLESS parade of those of us riddled with surgical scars so people can see the REAL breast cancer. ARGH!

    As to your anonymous guest, you know I am always glad that you manage to allow any and all to add to your blog, just as I always hope that those who truly stand by their convictions will make their names known. Regardless, before attacking you, I do wish s/he had perused some of your and "your members" blogs to see how VEHEMENTLY we ALL stand against Pink Ribbon marketing, and that we try to consistently speak in a manner that embraces any survivor's choice of treatment - conventional, holistic, spiritual, complimentary, or the choice not to treat at all.

    And as for the actual article, my life is too short to even bother noted how VERY twisted the whole thing is!

    Thanks for sharing...XOXOX

    1. See that would never fly, because people who promote stuff like this? They don't want to see unhealthy breasts, or scarred breasts, or someone who's breasts are now gone. That isn't "beautiful" or "sexual" and let's be honest, that's what at the heart of this. Face it. If you are a women, all issues you deal with will be boiled down to sex. It's a sad, sad thing.

    2. Lori,

      Thank you for always having my back and having a far more articulate voice AND for keeping things on topic.


    3. Amen - my thoughts, exactly!!

  4. The CDC also says it's a myth that indoor tanning is a safe way to get vitamin D. ( As for anonymous' generalizations and misstatements, who has time?

    1. :) You are my brain guru and my friend. Thank you for stepping in and sharing your thoughts.......


  5. May anonymous walk a mile in our shoes.
    Just sayin'

  6. Me again...not getting a good reception or vibe here, but my inquiries are valid...DO any of you folks who've suffered from breast cancer support alternative treatments or do the majority support chemo?

    Alternative treatments I listed in above post, do any members here have experience with any of them? If so, what were your results?

    "Generalizations and miistatements"...if you don't have the time to research or answer any of my questions, fine by me...stick with the same ole' doctor orders...I on the other hand, don't believe that to be a wise intuition and research says that big pharma, FDA, CDC, et. al only lead to disease and false hope in remission.

    "May anonymous walk a mile in our shoes."...I'm confused, you referring to me or yourself..."anonymous"...for the brainwashed/slow people this is sarcasm!

    Who has time to learn the truth, I hear ya, after I learned the following, it boggles my mind:
    1. BPA in plastic linings of canned food, water bottles...being replaced? SURE, by another variant molecule that essentially is the same carcinogen..BPS, BPH...etc.
    2. Food dyes and preservatives, processed foods, sedentary lives, in-balance of body PH being more acidic...ALL causes of cancer. But the precious FDA says dyes, preservatives and many other additives are "generally" recognized as safe...Alrighty then...keep up the faith in your fascist government looking out for ya!
    3. The sun, UNINHIBITED by sunscreens is GOOD for you! Not all day perhaps, but for several hours a day...the CDC can kiss my ass! Sunlight is good, melanoma is caused by multiple factors, not just by full spectrum sun exposure! Vitamin D3 is vital for health! If you say NO, then please tell me how farmers survived into their 80's, 90's, etc. with NO skin cancer? By golly, what the gubbernmint says about the sun it is downright evil...where are all the dead farmers from melanoma?
    4. I am a libertarian and America is on it's last swirl around the toilet now with Obammycare. I'm curious, since when must we rely soley doctors, pharmacists, AND government for answers about our health and the personal choices?! Do most of you or ANY of you question or advocate for your own health and treatment direction or do you blindly follow doctors orders per guidance from FDA, CDC...etc.?

    ...blah, blah, blah...who has the time? I get it, not anybody who wishes to live a full life and likes to be spoon fed life altering decisions, I get it now!

    1. While I appreciate your perspective, and as I said, I am grateful to AnneMarie for embracing all voices on her blog, I am unclear how this is on topic. The focus of this post is how insulting it is to hold a "bikini parade" to support breast cancer. It isn't BPAs, which we discuss through Breast Cancer Action, it isn't food dyes or preservatives or the quality of our food, as I focus on through EWG,it's how a bikini parade supports people with breast cancer.

      Let's refocus: this is the owner of a TANNING SALON, which is not "UNINHIBITED" sun exposure promoting women's sexuality in the name of breast cancer. That she wants proceeds to go to an organization that focused on Vit D as a cure-all is her right. The whole THING is her right. But it is likewise the right of the owner of this blog to criticize those choices. Moreover for a dermatologist to claim that the cure for breast cancer is sun exposure is a bit much.

      You have every right to be a libertarian; you have been invited to share your opinions on what is a PRIVATE blog, and your opinions are being respected...just not embraced. To come back with a comment such as "...or do you blindly follow doctors (sic) orders..." is rude and disrespectful, most especially since you have opted to remain anonymous. If you would like to share YOUR identity and YOUR journey, that is one thing. However, hiding behind your anonymity in an effort to criticize a community of survivors who you do not know is insulting. As a stage IV survivor who has embraced a HOLISTIC range of treatment options based on my OWN research, I have no time left for this.

      I will live with breast cancer every single day for the rest of my life. I'm stage IV...I don't really need to prove my street cred. Just sayin'

    2. First, I want to say that the other "anonymous" happens to be my MOTHER. She has a computer issue and for some reason can not put her name in the box as others might be able to do. She does NOT sign her comments and that comment was for ME, not you.

      So...before you attack another and hide behind YOUR anonymity, tread very lightly. Allow me to repeat... that is my mother. A two time breast cancer patient --- in 1987 and again in 2007 and a renal cancer patient, also in 1987.

      Second.....I do not discuss politics on this blog. Period. However, if you would like to discuss your points of view, I can provide plenty of people (very close to me) who SHARE your libertarian views. I am respectful of all political positions. No need for jabs about Obammycare (as a small business owner who is going to be slammed financially when this is fully implemented) and if you are so disgusted by "my" fascist government, maybe you should find another country where you think the grass is greener. Again, NO politics.

      Lastly, how DARE you attack Idelle and Lori for stating their opinions from your cloak of secrecy. Both Idelle and Lori are highly educated, extremely intelligent women each of whom is exceptionally well versed in the language of breast cancer. They have both participated in panel discussions as invited guests of the research community. They bring the patient perspective to these panels and I can ASSURE you, those invitations are only extended to the best and the brightest. YOU don't get to attack my friends or my mother without reprise.

      As far as the rest of your comments are concerned, I will respond despite the tone and tenure of your remarks. Until I can address each of them, let me just say that YES, I AM firm and furious about the entire pervasive pink ribbon AND, I am not a passive patient, blindly following "doctor's orders." Had you taken even five minutes to poke around this blog, you would have realized this before spewing such venomous commentary.

  7. My question - everyone of you that is making such a big deal out of this - Do you have breast cancer? I do. Had a mastectomy July 6, 2012. I have to have chemo over the next year and radiation after that. My vitamin D level was critically low a year ago...never was I told it could have a link to cancer. This walk is to raise awareness and help in breast cancer prevention. If you had cancer this would be something that would be close to your heart and you would appreciate everyone that tries to make a difference in this disease. All of you are looking at the way this fundraiser is being planned not the reason behind it. A bikini parade has been done before - and this one includes all individuals (men/women/children). Bikini's are worn everywhere - she isn't doing this to exploit them - they are walking for a cause. The parade may last 30 minutes - hardly enough time for melanoma to set in - and I'm sure everyone is well aware and have been informed enough about sun screen. Plus - are you aware you get Vitamin D from the sun? My personal opinion is this has gotten blown way out of proportion. I commend her for putting on this event and I would put money on that many individuals have added Vitamin D to their medication lists.
    See you all at the parade!

    1. Shelia,
      To answer your first question, YES. Every single person who has commented has breast cancer. I do believe we've all gone through chemotherapy, too. I appreciate that you have been kind enough to use your name and state your opinion. Since we do all have cancer, this IS close to all of our hearts and those of us in this forum are quite distressed over the lack of progress we have make by "raising awareness" rather than researching ways in which to prevent people from developing breast cancer and to stop those who already have breast cancer from dying of the disease. Nothing about this is going to help breast cancer prevention. There is presently no cure for the disease and there is nothing any of us can do to prevent the disease. This community follows the research of Dr. Susan Love, calls upon all of us to act responsibly with our donor dollars by demanding transparency and lobbies the government to make ending breast cancer a national priority. While the bikini parade may only last 30 minutes, the tanning salon will live on long after those 30 minutes are history.

      I respectfully disagree. People may be walking for a cause but in reality, they are advancing the agenda of one woman rather than making a difference in the lives of many. I aim to focus on changing the conversation so that things might be different for the next generation.

      Yes, I'd safely say that every one of the people who have commented is well aware that Vitamin D comes from the sun. I am also aware that sun exposure is NOT healthy. Not in any amount.

  8. A. I am opposed to this walk. For so many reasons.
    B. I did (in conjection with chemo/surgery/radiation) look into alternative therapies. Who can say what did what ... I don't think it has to be an either/or thing ... I think things can work together.
    C. My vit D levels were critical low, and my gynecologist wanted them up. She did in fact tell me that there was a suggestion that vitamin D levels and breast cancer were linked, but the levels had to be very low and it wasn't 100% solid. She also said it would be very difficult to take any one person and pinpoint ONE cause of any cancer and so I shouldn't focus on it, but at the time told me having them in normal was fine and she recommended I do that through a vitamin and for my skin, about 15-20 minutes of sun a day. NEVER would she recommend I go to a tanning booth or spend hours outside.
    So there you have it. Anonymous ... that is my take. And Sheila, I HAVE walked in your shoes.

    I still feel a bikini walk is a stunt. nothing more, nothing less. There are 10000000 other ways someone could bring awareness to breast cancer, to vitamin D, to alternative therapies. And you know what? This is nothing more than a stunt and a way to get attention. It's a way to sensationalize the issue and get a business a lot of publicity. I mean, let's be honest. No way in hell we'd have a speedo walk for testicular cancer would me?

    1. That should say, looked into AND used some alternative therapies. Still am actually.

    2. Brandie,
      Thank you for coming over here and commenting and for writing an excellent blog, too! Yes..... it's impossible to pinpoint ONE cause of cancer. Speedo walk for testicular cancer..... and I would suggest anyone reading click on your name to they go to your blog and read all about your proposed Speedo Walk.


  9. To Sheila and Anonymous (#1) who are supporting this fundraiser: evidence based science has found little relationship between Vitamin D levels and breast cancer, especially when it's taken as a supplement (see If you read through past blog postings here and those from others who have commented -- almost all of whom are breast cancer survivors -- you'll see the frustration everyone has with the current Breast Industrial Complex; one which continues to to burn, slash, and poison women's bodies in an effort to keep the disease from "killing them" (and yes these treatments sometimes do that as well). It is important that we all have an intelligent and informed conversation on how to work together to find a true cure. Touting the minor benefits of exposing yourself to Vitamin D only gives people a false sense of hope and ignores the very real environmental dangers (like BPA and other mentioned) that have yet to be studied (according to Breast Cancer Action, less than 2% of money raised in the name of "awareness" goes toward that research;

    1. THANK you, Elisabeth for sharing your knowledge. Evidence based science. Informed choices. Intelligent conversations. Learning to Think Before We Pink as Breast Cancer Action has shown us....


  10. Anonymous- YES! there are some of us who have adopted "alternative" modalities. I prefer the term "integrative," as my family believes there is a time and place for all modalities. However, the "alternative" treatments failed as miserably as the so called "western medicine," and my mother is no longer with us. You may feel you are not receiving a good vibe here because most women (and men) who take the time to educate themselves about their personal diagnosis have spent many hours, days, week...possibly months deciding what is best for them, long before they choose to regurgitate their every thought on to paper to help others. Everyone's personal decision about treatment is sacred and should not be questioned.

    1. Tory,
      Your words are beyond wise and I think you nailed it with those last words. Our treatment decisions are sacred and should not be questioned. I agonized over the choices I made. Ask anonymous (#2). She was by my side for that whole episode. YOU were a far too young caregiver for you mom and I know you spent tons of time researching every option. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


  11. In no particular order

    1. A bikini parade would appear to be a stunt. It has more to do with awareness about sun exposure and as a consequence, use of the tanning salon - linking some weak evidence about breast cancer (which I suppose may preclude you from wearing a bikini) Many of us who've had breast cancer would have a difficult time wearing a bikini. Personally, I would NEVER wear a bikini for any reason. It plays into all sorts of images of women as prettied up sex bombs. In that respect it has a lot in common with Pink Ribbon culture. Truth be told, if you want to focus on breast cancer, look at the scars it creates. To me, a parade uses breast cancer as a publicity stunt. Timing it to be in sync with football training just makes it even more a stunt.

    2. The assumption that natural treatments are somehow better because they are "natural" doesn't convince me personally. Plenty of natural things that can poison you, and wreck havoc on your system. My own personal choice was to use traditional treatment (surgery, chemo, rads, aromatase inhibitors), and supplement it with some integrative things to improve my quality of life. And I'm satisfied that I am doing everything I can. But that's my choice, and it's my business. So this is my opinion - if someone else wants to use "alternative" methods, then that's her (or his) choice. I've not been impressed with the lack of evidence in this area. But, I'm with Tory - I think there's a place for a wide range of modalities.

    3. While I care about politics, I don't care about them here. You deserve the best decisions, best treatment, best access regardless of your political leanings. But, if you are a libertarian and believe in the power of the free market, I have to disagree with the idea that medical access and treatment is a free market good.

    If you plan to be in this parade, and you've had rads or you're currently bald, protect your sensitive skin and wear a hat.

    1. E,
      Thank you.... and thank you for pointing out what I was thinking....just because something is natural, doesn't mean it's good. Plenty of things in nature are poisonous.....including at least one of the items mentioned as an alternative treatment method. More later...

      Big hugs across the ocean...

  12. So are you saying this wouldn't be such a big deal if the promoter wasn't an owner of a tanning studio? I beg to defer that this is a way to focus attention on her since both her and her husband are both well known already in the community and those surrounding.

    Yes - I will be there - in a breast cancer t-shirt as I just had surgery on July 6th - and I will thank everyone I see for coming out and supporting us.

    1. No Sheila... It's not only about the tanning studio. Kellogg (cereal) did a similar thing in South Africa. It's about sexualizing a disease. Your body is altered. So is mine. So it my mom's. And my sister's. And all of the others who have left comments. When we turn breast cancer awareness into something that is "sexy," we distract ourselves from the reality of those scars. Do we even NEED to do "awareness" campaigns anymore?? What corner of the planet is free of a pink ribbon?

      WE know what it's like to endure the difficulty with making choices (if we have choices as I did in my case) and then having those scars remind us, on a daily basis, that we are living with a disease. We may be NED, but we are still breast cancer patients. These "events" do nothing to educate those "outside of the club" about the reality many of us live with each and every day. Most of us endure the stupid comments.....It's a good cancer. You got a free boob job. There's a blog post I wrote in May about the stupid things people have said to us. It's interactive in that many left their own comments about the dumb stuff we often hear. For some reason, it seems the breast cancer crowd gets the stupidest comments. It is for this reason that I find events like these detrimental. When I factor in the tanning salon situation and the organization receiving the donations (and, by the way, what portion of the donations..... is anyone making even ten cents off of this event?), I am distressed. Tanning salons are not safe. Vitamin D from the sun is not a cure. Splashy headlines and incomplete sentences mislead those who do not wish to read all the data.

      I saw the movie Pink Ribbons Inc. I spoke at a screening and I did a radio interview with the director and the author of the book upon which the documentary is based. If you have time to listen, there is a link in the "Places I've Been Invited" box on this blog. The interview is 30 minutes so it may not be for you but I would hope you consider the other points.

      I should not have gotten breast cancer..... YOU should not have gotten breast cancer either..... WHERE is all this awareness money going? WHY are we still at square one. I have a daughter. I point to the "pinkpocrisy" whenever I see it. I want meaningful progress. I don't think a bikini parade serves anyone except the person who is getting lots of press with this...... We are all being used for the benefit of an agenda. It wouldn't matter if the parade organizer was selling sunscreen (or better yet... was anonymous....) .... It's backward movement. I do not wish to be a "brand" for someone else's profit or benefit. I wish altruism were pure and real Minus the Agenda.

  13. Hi AnneMarie,
    Thanks for writing on this. I wasn't aware of this curious BC "prevention" event and the NPO behind it. Beyond pink -

    1. Thanks, Elaine. I'm still stunned at some of the "natural" suggestions. As if.... "it comes from nature so it must be safe" ....

      I will be pointing out the WONDERFUL area of MSKCC's website that deals with herbs, botanicals and natural supplements. Apricot Pits? Seriously. Still? Didn't we dispense with this particular portion of the program years ago???

      Beyond pink... indeed!

  14. I AnneMarie, I don't think I've commented before, but I'm one of those silent lurking readers. I enjoyed the comments as much as the post and I heartily agree with everything you've said. The comment by Tory "Everyone's personal decision about treatment is sacred and should not be questioned" is spot on. I'm so sick of people forwarding me information on apricot kernels in favour of chemo etc...especially now I'm post treatment!
    Anyway I live in a country with some of the highest UV levels (New Zealand) and to be outside in the sun is actually very bad for us all here - melanoma rates along with Australia are the highest in the world and is our most common cancer. I do however try to safely get my 10mins of VitD a day so I'm pretty sure my Vit D levels weren't low before I was diagnosed two years ago.
    Thank you for speaking out. Out here in the community of women trying to make sense of it all its so great to have people like you and the other wonderful women voice it for us!

    1. Monica,
      I am so glad to see you step out of the shadows. Apricot pits.... that's one of the suggested methods of alternative treatments mentioned here, too. One of my very dear virtual friends is in NZ and she just opted to stop treatment. That broke my heart but she made the choice that was right for her.

      Thank YOU for letting me know you are reading and getting something from the words I am sharing.

      Love to you,

  15. I did just post this on the "Bikini Parade" website; however it will not show up, so I am guessing the creator has blocked me. My post: (I am very angered that you are using a disease that I have to promote your tanning salon and to promote tanning in general. Shame on you!! You have stooped to the low of lows. This is not going to benefit breast cancer patients at all!!! I hope all breast cancer survivors realize where this money is truly and choose not to participate in this event. I am just so mad that they are using breast cancer patients as a way to make money and money that will NOT be going to research to find a cure!!!!)
    There are plenty of organizations that promote a healthy lifestyle, so what is the money/donations they receive going to fund?!?!?! I think this organization is a hoax and a very large group of people are falling for "it" hook, line and sinker.

    1. Dear Sarah,
      I figured the negative push back would be deleted. Thank you for leaving your comment here! I was tempted to do the same, only because of the manner in which the comment was written. I'm big on talking in ways people can hear. I can't hear when I'm being attacked or having someone else's beliefs shoved down my throat.

      By the same token, if MY words were read as shoving my own beliefs down the throats of others, I am vehemently opposed to the sexualization of this disease. I have photos of campaigns that I will be sharing in the next few days that are as offensive as this bikini parade. They are from far larger companies than this tanning salon. As for the snake oil cure all.... that upsets me. People may follow blindly and then realize they have no more options because they chose "alternative" over "proven" ....

  16. Has anyone gone to and read the information or watched the videos? Pretty compelling information. I don't understand how we can pre-judge a small business sending money to a non-profit with a board of scientists, doctors and a breast cancer survivor. What if the small business were a restaurant that served alcohol or a party store that sold cigarettes? Would we condemn the organization they're sending money to? Both of my sisters are breast cancer survivors and both were immediately put on high dosages of vitamin D upon diagnosis. Their vitamin D is checked regularly now by request of their oncologist. Sure, you won't find vitamin D information (or any prevention information) on the Komen or other BC sites simply because there's no profit in it. Sunlight is free and supplements are cheap. That doesn't mean that vitamin D's preventive properties aren't scientifically sound.

    1. Dean,

      First, I want to say that I am sorry about your sisters. As I stated in one of my remarks, I take D3 supplements at the strong suggestion of a Sloan Kettering doctor. He does not advocate sunlight but as you pointed out, the supplements are inexpensive. My problem with the website is that it is touted as a magic bullet. That kind of thinking is very dangerous. Did your sisters opt for strictly alternative treatment or did they choose to an integrative method? I think anonymous (not my mom) wants us to all walk away from proven Western medicine unless I missed something in the comments, which, frankly is quite possible with my chemobrain...

      I'm big on science based medicine and evidence based science. D3 was never studied in a way that would prove or disprove the claims regarding its use as a risk reducing supplement. That is my gripe with Their presentation is questionable. Where are the peer reviewed publications? Show me the studies, real studies with control groups. Until that is done, I will continue to take D3 but I will not buy into its use as a magic bullet.

      Thanks for listening and for sharing..... Curious if your sisters have opinions about the bikini parade... or body image issues....


  17. Thank you ALL for your comments. I would like to point out a few things. Sloan Kettering has an EXCELLENT website and they have a section about herbs and botanicals. Two of the "natural" remedies suggested as chemotherapy alternatives are listed. Both of them are natural and also, poisonous. One of them is that ever popular apricot pit that I've been hearing about since long before I was even diagnosed with cancer. They do not shy away from supplements. If they are "unproven" but "harmless" they will say that. It is a widely respected source of information for anyone who is aware the site exists. As I understand it, that part of their website gets the most hits.

    The Link:

    In addition, they have embraced integrative medicine as part of their treatment. Chemotherapy nurses at one infusion center are trained in Reikki. Acupuncture can be given during chemotherapy. You can schedule reflexology visits while in the hospital. There is an entire center for integrative medicine in its own building. This is a major cancer center embracing a holistic approach. I'm sure there are others but I only can speak to that which I know.

    I pride myself on being one who wishes to build bridges, not walls and I would never speak so sarcastically or in such a nasty tone in someone else's space. I also am determined to shine a light on every incident where pink ribbon money is being raised to further an agenda. I will gladly point you to some of the things that I've written.

    I do NOT disagree, nor does anyone else, with the toxicity of the treatments that are available to us. THIS is why the research must change. Stop with kinder, gentler poison and start figuring out why some of us develop breast cancer in the first place. Prevent the disease altogether. Save my friends with metastatic disease. There are several on the blogroll. Two died earlier this year. On the same day.

    I am in the trenches and I'm determined to be vocal, to speak out. I may not see a difference in my lifetime but I will leave a small foundation upon which the next generation can build. It will be a solid foundation of evidence based scientifically proven methods. Anything else is irresponsible and will cost lives.

  18. AnnMarie -- Thank you for toning down the rhetoric and focusing on the wide range of methods that people use to deal with this disease. Cancer, in all its forms, is ugly. The work that you do -- and the women who support that work -- is building a tremendous foundation for the future. It will only be through a constant call for change that we will find an end to the disease.

    I am just a partner in the trenches with you. I've seen the havoc that breast cancer (and other cancers) can bring on a family. But I have to comment on the concept that "remission" is nothing but "false hope." After accidentally finding a tumor my wife was in "remission" for 10 years before cancer reared its ugly head again. But those were ten years of living. Ten years of helping and watching our son grow up. Even though she is now stage IV, we are still "living" every day and, to the extent we can "sucking the marrow out of life."

    Finally, my wife's oncologist is a brilliant physician. He is not a tool of "big pharma" and he is truly focused on helping my wife live her life and keep the cancer at bay until we can find a cure. While we have not discussed it, I truly believe that if he had a reasonable basis to think excessive vitamin D or something else might work, he wouldn't hesitate to tell her. He has brought my wife in as a partner in her own health care.

    AnneMarie, I admire you and all of the other women who post here who ask questions, argue and dare to make a difference. Keep up the good work.

    John ("Mr. Regrounding")

    1. John,

      Thank you so very much for taking the time to share your thoughts. Your words mean much to me.

      Let me share with all.... John is Lori's husband. Lori and I spent four days in DC (with hundreds of others) pushing an agenda on behalf of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. We shared a room. We had tons of fun despite never having met in real life before she and I got to the hotel. Most importantly, we rolled up our sleeves and learned much. We lobbied congress. We are working toward change...

      Lori is now one of my dearest and closest friends. THIS is the power of social media. We can ALL continue to connect on a virtual level. We will ask the hard questions. We will shine a light on things that are just WRONG.... and yes, we will dare to make a difference.

      Much love,


  19. AnnMarie
    I had tried to post a comment earlier, but it didn't work. Wish I could remember everything I said :-(
    I wanted to tell you that at first I was so angry when I read about this ridiculous parade. Then I was just so sad. Sad for all those who are living with cancer, those who are facing dying from cancer, because we still do not know how to prevent it. Sad for all the friends and families who watch the people they love the most being trivialized by such stunts as this ridiculous parade.
    Really, how many more ways can breast cancer be glamorized and sexualized before everybody is aware of it? Really aware of it. What it looks like. How it kills.
    I stand with you and every one who clamors for change so we can make real progress in finding out what causes cancer, how to prevent it. I continue to be buoyed by your compassion and integrity, your demands for accountability, but most of all your brave heart.
    Thank you

  20. I'd like to raise a little awareness here, myself. Cynthia Frederick happens to be a wonderful, genuine, caring, successful woman,with only the best intentions in mind for this parade. If you don't know her, you really shouldn't sit here & bash her so inhumanely...that's a no brainer, ladies. I'm sorry you have/had breast cancer, my heart truly goes out to you; but that doesn't give you the license to shred this woman to pieces. She is trying to create a fun, family friendly event, in conjunction with a parade that is already taking place (during the summer, in MN, women wear bikini's to the beaches & pools all the time & nobody seems to have a problem with that) that will also raise funds for a good cause. It appears you like to think you are above all others, due to your unfortunate life circumstance. Sorry to say, that's not the case. My advice to you....try not to be so hateful, especially when a being greater than you, or any Dr/medicine, gave you a second chance at life.

    1. Jen,
      This has to be broken into two comments as blogger will not accept my rather long response…

      Part 1
      I am very sorry you are reading these remarks as hateful. None of us has personally attacked Cynthia much less "shred (her) to pieces." Most of us have called the need for a "bikini parade" into question. Fair to say that everyone who reads this blog consistently is well aware of my views (and the views of MANY of the breast cancer patients) regarding any type of activity that sexualizes this disease. I don't see anyone bashing her. The comments by "anonymous" seem to have spurred many of the comments.
      Thanks to the work of a number of Big Pink organizations (I do NOT wish to start another discussion here about that), we now have breast cancer as the mother of all cause marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, it is THIS that must stop on all levels: Large, small and everything in between. People are profiting from women with a disease. The pink ribbon sells and the good will and "best intentions" still create great press in the masses. I don't doubt Cynthia Frederick is as wonderful as you describe. Her intentions, I am not so sure there isn't a bit of an agenda to further a business that has been called into question in many parts of the country. There are laws on the books in this state regulating tanning salons. Might this be an effort to keep her successful business afloat as the indoor tanning industry is being equated with elevated cancer risks? I'm not accusing... I'm just asking a question.

    2. Part 2
      To comment on your specific remarks:
      "She is trying to create a fun, family friendly event, in conjunction with a parade that is already taking place (during the summer, in MN, women wear bikini's to the beaches & pools all the time & nobody seems to have a problem with that)"

      --FUN? There is nothing fun about breast cancer but if a "fun event" is needed to raise awareness, how about toning it down so it's not sexualized by using bikinis for a breast cancer fundraiser. I can point you to dozens of blogs and even more support groups where women have expressed their frustration about buying ANY type of bathing suit. Bikini clad women are fine. I begrudge no one but I find this is insensitive to the very women she is claiming to support.

      "that will also raise funds for a good cause."
      --Good Cause? Again, respectfully disagree. Evidence based science has shown time and again how sun exposure is not healthy.

      "It appears you like to think you are above all others, due to your unfortunate life circumstance. Sorry to say, that's not the case."
      --This is an extremely hurtful (and incendiary) remark. Not ONE of us thinks we are above anyone. Each and every ONE of us is trying to raise the right kind of awareness. If someone is going to do something to try to "help" those of us in these unfortunate circumstances, great. If the goal is to bring attention to their own agenda. Not good at all. If the goal is to PROFIT from those of us with a disease, absolutely disgraceful. I hope you have an opportunity to see the documentary "Pink Ribbons Inc" so you might understand how the women who are dying feel about being used as a way for others to profit. It's rather heartbreaking.

      "My advice to you....try not to be so hateful, especially when a being greater than you, or any Dr/medicine, gave you a second chance at life."
      --This is a really good one since we have had plenty of discussions about things that people unwittingly say that can be damaging. I am a woman of deep faith. (That may be the first time I've said that on this blog as I do not tout my religious beliefs or my political views here.) That was never the intent of this blog. If people anyone chooses to use words like prayer and blessings and give glory to their God, I am supportive. If others do not believe there is a God, I am supportive. I'm not the religion police. Having said all of that.... I take TREMENDOUS offense with that last statement. Let me be clear:

      NO BEING GREATER THAN MYSELF or ANY DOCTOR OR MEDICINE GAVE ME A SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE: The **DOCTORS** who treated my cancer and who continue to monitor me are the ones who are guarding my mortal life. A being greater than myself or the doctors.... ??? No, that will not be tolerated here. Everyone's spirituality is highly personal. A statement like this borders on "blame" and it insinuates things that I will not discuss. We choose healthy, we do as we are instructed to reduce our risks and the rest is a crapshoot. It has nothing to do with God or the choices we make.
      I am not hateful. I'm sorry if I've misread your words-a downside of only being able to write rather than speak and see body language, etc...but the same way you are seeing me and those who may have commented as hateful, I see those in opposition as primarily on the outside looking in having lots to say yet you can never truly understand (and I hope that remains the case forever).... We have researched and looked from your perspective. Can you say the same?


  21. concerned survivorJuly 18, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    In response to Jen, I am glad that you have come here to give your opinion, but unfortunately the public is being made to believe the funds being raised are going to breast cancer research, where they really are not! The funding from the "breast cancer natural prevention foundation" is to promote vitamin D as a prevention for breast cancer, aka tanning. Well, I was not and am not deficient in vitamin D and I still got breast cancer. It is hereditary in my family, so there is nothing I could have done to prevent it. I am angry about the event because the funds raised could be going to actual scientific research.

    1. Thank you for sharing you comments and your thoughts.

      Breast cancer seems to be hereditary in my family, too although we do not have an identifiable mutation.

      You are 100% right in your observations. No funds for scientific research. And no funds to help underserved women who are in need of treatment which for me are the two most important places that donor dollars should be spent. (What good is it to fund a mammography if the screening shows a problem and the person has no access to medical care.... but again, WAY off topic so I'm going to leave that alone as it will start a RAGING political debate....)

      There is nothing you could have done to prevent your breast cancer. Me either. We were at a risk that is higher than the general population. But, even those at "low risk" could not have prevented their cancer, either. That's why this is all so egregious. It's a way of assessing blame on the patients for not doing things "right."

      Thank you.. thank you...


  22. Also in response to Jen Fuller:
    It is really important for everyone to remember that breast cancer is neither fun nor family-friendly. I don't care how many pink ribbons we wrap around it, or how many people parade down the street in bikinis "in the name of breast cancer prevention." If it's "a good cause," then I, as a breast cancer patient, would like to know precisely what kind of research is being funded.
    Truly, I am not interested in discussing politics or religion, nor am I interested in tearing down an individual. As a breast cancer patient who hopes to see her daughter grow up in a world without cancer, I am very interested in a candid discussion of any activity purporting to raise funds for research into how my cancer might have been prevented. Surely I have a right to ask questions about that? Let's not forget that in spite of all our awareness campaigns, we still don't know what prevents breast cancer.
    On a personal note, I am not deficient in Vitamin D; in fact, I live in one of the sunniest cities in this country; I have no family history of breast cancer; I have shown up for all my mammograms; and, I still got breast cancer. I don't consider breast cancer a second chance at life. My life is not over; it is, however, altered by a cancer diagnosis. I
    For all these reasons, I am deeply grateful for AnnMarie bringing yet another glaring example of how we are trapped in a paradigm that simply must change before more people die.

    1. Dear Yvonne,

      Thank you for this comment and for the one above, too. Your words matter deeply to me as do the words and thoughts of everyone here, including those who do not understand why "we" are upset. Prevention. Yes. And stopping those who are diagnosed already from dying. Those are the priorities.

      My concern is for my daughter, too. For the next generation...... As I've said, I may not see it in my lifetime, but that doesn't mean I should just throw my arms up and think, "Lost Cause." It's NOT a lost cause. It's a cause whose time has come..... and it's a "cause" that has raked in billions.... with no meaningful progress.

      I'm not unreasonable. I'm just asking questions. I try to be respectful.... but I'm adamant about the things I know to be wrong.

      Much love,


    2. FYI, Yvonne....
      I just saw your tweet about "offending" someone by the blog post about your NIPPLE TATTOO. That was too personal? Since it might be a family member of yours, I'm only using this to further highlight the point I think we are all trying to make.

      Frolicking and fun are okay. Reality, like the fact that a mastectomy often leaves us with no nipples is offensive. Having a medical intervention in the form of a tattoo so you feel better about your appearance is a problem.

      This underscores what each of us is trying to say...

      Yvonne's post is here:

    3. Thank you so much, AnneMarie. I don't know if I mentioned it before, but when I started writing about breast cancer, I was almost afraid to hit "publish." I saved those initial drafts for weeks before I "went public" if you will. It occurs to me now that, along with being completely traumatized by the diagnosis etc that I was already feeling societal pressures to keep quiet about the ugliness of breast cancer. Seems I was much less offensive if I just nodded politely when someone pointed out that at least I got the good kind of cancer etc etc Much less offensive if I didn't object to bikini parades like the one proposed above, or ask questions about where the money goes ...
      While I have great friends and family in the "real world," there is a very special corner of my heart reserved for the blogging women who, unwittingly, held me up when I was scared to death - yourself, Nancy, Dr. Attai, Marie @JBBC, EVERYONE at #bcsm.
      thank you again

    4. I know exactly what you mean. I, too have a great family (including and especially my mom who really does GET IT) and some great friends (including my dearest friend who was diagnosed with a rare thyroid cancer right before my own mess began) but there is something very special among those of us who have chosen to share our stories on the blogs and in the twitter-verse. I'm glad that you are part of that special world for me...


  23. AnnMarie,

    I am proud to call you friend. I wish I had half the knowledge you have about breast cancer. It's all I can do to get through the treatments, right now. I want to be more helpful, I just need to find a way to do that. Thanks for writing. You're such an inspiration. (( Hugs ))

    1. Shelby...
      I DO love you, girlfriend. I know what you are going through right now...... Keep your humor about you.....

      You are one of the kindest people I've had the pleasure of connecting with as a result of this blog and the fact that we both pulled the "breast cancer short straw"


  24. Dear AnneMarie, I am at work, but I have a hard time pulling away from this blog, all I can say is WOW, and I am so glad you are on our team! Thanks for saying the things we all want to but don't know how to say it with such knowledge, grace and finesse!!!

    1. Hi Christine,
      Thank you for being among those whom I consider to be my friend and a very important part of my life.
      MUCH love,

  25. I am bringing a slightly unique perspective to this conversation since I grew up near Mankato, MN close to where this event is scheduled to be held. Boy, I'd sure to show up there and have a little parade of my own...It seems this discussion has become quite heated. I don't have much new to add here, but as someone who has had a BC diagnosis, lost a mother to the disease and who has a daughter, I'd just like to state along with many others that I am pretty darn tired of breast cancer being "paraded" (pun intended) around or prettied up with a pink ribbon, even if the intentions might be good. Good intentions aren't enough anymore. Also, for anyone to suggest we are not on top of pink ribbon hypocrisy is pretty ridiculous. I am quite honestly baffled by the sexualization of this deadly disease. A bikini parade supposedly benefiting breast cancer feels just plain silly to me. Does the business woman have a right to own a tanning salon, promote a bikini parade, and donate to a charity of her choosing? Of course, but the reality of the situation here, in my opinion, is that she may very well be doing more harm than good on so many levels as others have already pointed out. Thanks for the discussion. And thank you, Ann Marie, for moderating it so well.

    1. Nancy,

      Thank you so much commenting! "Good intentions aren't enough anymore." You bet. They haven't been enough for quite some time. We are in similar situations with the family history but your mom was stolen from your life by this disease. (Mine is still here.... and was fair game for a wise crack....)

      I hope that there may be people who have read this bit of a commotion and walked away feeling just a bit differently..... questioning just a little more....

      I appreciate you and everything you do to help in the breast cancer community. And I will never forget that you were one of my very first friends in this blogosphere. You hold a special place in my heart.


  26. Part 1.
    The comments in the original blog, some of them laced with four-letter words, are charged with emotion, either attacking the morality of a bikini parade or denying that sunlight exposure—and subsequent vitamin D production have cancer preventive affects. Melanoma is also mentioned without regard for the scientific evidence. My comments here will not attempt to discuss morality. However, as to the cancer-preventive influence of vitamin D on breast cancer, we should take a look at facts based on science rather than passion.
    First, it has been established in laboratory studies that vitamin D inhibits cancer in several ways:
    1. Vitamin D influences apoptosis (normal, programmed cell death). When cells do not die normally they may become “immortal” and multiply, becoming cancer cells. Vitamin D promotes apoptosis. (Mathiasen, I. Cancer Res. 1999;59:4848-56)
    2. Vitamin D influences differentiation, the process by which cells take on characteristics of the surrounding tissue such as breast tissue. Vitamin D promotes differentiation in cancer cells so they become like the normal cells. (Tokar E, Clin Exp Metastasis 2005;22:265-73).
    3. Vitamin D influences proliferation, or cancer-cell multiplication. Vitamin D retards proliferation, thereby slowing cancerous growth (Tokar E, Clin Exp Metastasis 2005;22:265-73, Holt, P. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2002;11:113-9.)
    4. Vitamin D influences angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels that feed cancer cells. If angiogenesis can be stopped, then cancer cells cannot receive their nutrients and will die. Vitamin D retards angiogenesis. (Mantell, D. Circulation Research. 2000;87:214).
    5. Vitamin D influences invasiveness, the spreading of cancer to healthy tissue. Vitamin D inhibits invasiveness. (Bao, B. Carcinogenesis 2006;27:32-42).
    6. Vitamin D influences metastasis, the spreading of cancer cells from the initial location of disease to another location by way of the blood vessels. Vitamin D inhibits metastasis of cancer cells, which keeps them localized (El Abdaimi, K. Cancer Research 2000;60:4412-4418).
    In addition to the above, I will mention one of numerous pieces of research showing that high vitamin D levels in the blood are associated with rather dramatically lowered risk of breast cancer. I could discuss several more, but space does not allow it. Dr. S Abbas and colleagues have shown that women with the highest vitamin D levels have a 69% reduced risk of breast cancer compared to those with the lowest levels (Abbas, S et al. Carcinogenesis. 2008 Jan;29(1):93-9).
    In addition, Dr. Joan Lappe and colleagues, in a four-year, double blind, placebo-controlled interventional study (the gold standard of research) showed that women who supplemented vitamin D had a 77% reduced risk of all cancers compared to those who took a placebo (Lappe, J. et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:1586–91). Why then, would anyone say there is no research showing that vitamin D could prevent breast cancer?
    And in terms of sunlight exposure, Dr. Esther John and colleagues showed that women who had the highest exposure to sunlight had a 65% reduced risk of breast cancer (John, E. et al. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention 1999;8:399-406).

  27. Part 2

    As to melanoma, most studies show that those who live and work indoors have a greater risk of melanoma than those who work outdoors. Here are the references: (Garsaud P. et al. Am J Epidemiol 1998;147:66-8, Le Marchand l, et al. Am J Epidemiol 2006;164:232-45, Armstong K, Kricker A. J Photochem Biol 2001;63:8-18, Crombie IK. Br J Cancer 1981;43:842-9. Crombie IK, Br J Cancer 1979;40:774-81, Weinstock MA, et al. Pediatrics 1989;84:199-204, Tucker MA, Goldstein AM. Oncogene 2003;22:3042-52. Berwick M, et al. Sun exposure and mortality from melanoma. J Nat Cancer Inst 2005;97:95-199, Veierød MB, et al. J Natl Cancer Inst 2003;95:1530-8, Oliveria SA, et al. Arch Dis Child 2006;91:131-8, Elwood JM, et al. Int J Cancer 2006;35:427-33).
    The Melanoma International Foundation (MIF) states that melanoma has increased by about 3,000% since 1935, increasing faster than any other cancer (Melanoma International Foundation, 2007 Facts about melanoma). At the same time, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that indoor workers in the 20th Century grew from one-quarter to three-quarters of the population and that outdoor farming declined from 33% to 1.2 % of employment—a 96% reduction. Sixty-five percent of that reduction occurred after 1935. (Ian D. Wyatt and Daniel E. Hecker Occupational changes in the 20th century. Monthly Labor Review, March 2006 pp. 35-57: Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics). Therefore, if melanoma is rising faster than any other cancer, it has arrived at that dubious distinction during a time when sunlight exposure has profoundly decreased! After reading these facts, the argument that sunlight exposure causes melanoma flies in the face of reason.
    I hope that my comments help to dispel the misconceptions that (1) vitamin D and sunlight exposure have no cancer preventive potential, and that (2) sunlight is the cause of melanoma. As to the wisdom in a “bikini” parade, I will leave that to the reader.
    Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute.

  28. Thank you, Marc for taking a tremendous amount of time to put together all of these studies. I will read all of them.

    I have no misconception about D3. I know it's important when someone like Larry Norton of MSKCC shares that this is the ONLY supplement he feels is necessary.

    His discussion about Vitamin D3 begins at the 38 minute mark. The entire talk is terrific but he is a ROCK STAR in Cancer Land.... and unless someone can point to statements with evidence based, gold standard studies, I follow his advice. Yes, anonymous, if you are still reading.... I follow him "blindly" ...... I researched all medical options when I was diagnosed. I went with people and places who are on the top of their game. Dr. Norton is at the very top.


  29. Hi, AnneMarie,

    I've been a lurker for awhile and I don't want to post anonymously, but still wish to protect my privacy. This post isn't directed at anyone in particular; it's just something I want to say.

    I'm 35 (34 when diagnosed) and have finished "active treatment" for a very aggressive Triple Negative tumor. I'm a pretty staunch supporter of the Anti-Pink Ribbon movement, I'm not a Komen advocate, and have become passionate about dispelling the pink myth surrounding breast cancer.

    I, IN NO WAY, believe that a bikini parade is appropriate to "raise awareness" (that term makes me queasy)of such a devastating disease. We don't need any further sexualization of breast cancer. I'm against what I perceive the motivation to be surrounding this salon owner's actions. But, and this is a big but, I would like to say that I believe there is something to the idea that Vitamin D and a healthy amount of UV exposure are beneficial to SOME as a means of protecting against or lowering one's risk of certain breast cancers. I do not believe it to be a magic bullet and I do not believe it will benefit every person without fail. Cancer is complex. There are myriad types of breast cancers even beyond the standard hormone positive, Triple Negative, HER2 positive, etc. We are now learning that breast cancer is an umbrella term and it wasn't that long ago it was considered to be one disease. There have been quite a few subtypes identified. I also think there are more genetic mutations at play than BRCA 1 and 2, more hormones involved than estrogen and progesterone, and likely other growth factors lending their part besides HER2. For many, a cancer diagnosis is a culmination of the perfect storm of disfunction going on in the body.

    I did conventional therapy and recommend it. I've had chemo. It's tough. I believe in people's right to choose their treatment path, but I believe most alternative therapies are simply inadequate. I do think that Vitamin D deficiency played a role (not the only cause, but it lent a hand) in my diagnosis. My oncologist believes this to be true as well. I will never tell anyone that Vitamin D is a get out of jail free card against breast cancer because I'm positive that many, many women and men that were diagnosed had adequate levels; but for some, I truly believe it to be a factor.

    Unfortunately, this salon owner is taking a very bad approach at trying to spread the Vitamin D idea. We don't need more awareness campaigns and we certainly don't need women in bikinis to further her bottom line as a business owner. I'm sick and tired of people profiting from my disease and I don't care how nice this person is or how noble her intentions are, she is making money from our suffering.

    Again, this wasn't directed at anyone in particular. I feel strongly against the sexualization of and profiting from breast cancer and I also feel strongly about the potential role of Vitamin D for some people.

    1. Betty,
      I wish I could reach right though this screen and give you a GIGANTIC hug! Did you see "My Cousin Vinny" ..... and if so, the scene when Joe Pesci makes a great objection..... to which Mr. Munster (sorry, chemobrain, can't catch his name on my tongue!) replies that was a well thought out, perfectly worded and brilliant objection???? That's what YOU have done here... Except, I'm not going to say "overruled" since I agree with you about the D3 thing.

      Here's where you make one of many brilliant points:

      For many, a cancer diagnosis is a culmination of the perfect storm of disfunction going on in the body.

      Yes, a perfect storm! That's precisely what is happening. I'm going to be putting up a video from someone at MSKCC about lots of things but D3 in particular. Stay tuned..

      Thank you for sharing and THANK YOU for stepping out of your comfort zone in order to do so.

      I wish you good health..


  30. AnneMarie,

    Thank you so much for the kind words! I've only seen a few minutes of "My Cousin Vinny", but I've been meaning to watch it for some time because I've always heard such great things about it. I truly appreciate your comment. I'm sure someone else has also described cancer as a perfect storm, but it's always been how I categorize it. And I absolutely believe that it is.

    I'm very interested in the video from MSKCC that you'll be posting. I wholeheartedly believe that D3 deficiency should be a concern for many who are at risk (sometimes without knowing it) for breast and certain other types of cancers. I did my treatment at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida and my oncologist is a proponent of the theory that links deficient Vitamin D levels and breast cancers that are particulary aggressive.

    I'm trying my hardest to step out of my comfort zone. Cancer was a complete shock and I'm still reeling. I also have a serious case of chemo brain and can relate to so many things in your posts.

    Thank you again and I wish you the best!


    PS - Fred Gwynne, I believe, was Herman Munster. Chemobrain has decimated my short-term memory, but long-term hasn't been as impacted...for now. Because chemo seems to be the gift that keeps on giving.

    1. My long term memory seems to be getting acutely better, especially with little details! It's the working memory that's the real brain terminator for me... and the inability to stay on task... along with a mess of other things.....

      The video is scheduled to go up tomorrow...... I'm thinking I don't CARE what may happen between now and then, I'm putting it up!

      Thank you for sharing more of your personal story here in this comment....

      Stay well!


  31. AnneMarie, I would like to respond from the melanoma community point of view. Dr. Benzmiller stated it so well: "There is no safe threshold of ultraviolet exposure." "Basically, UV radiation, whether it's from a tanning bed or the sun, causes oncogenic (cancer-causing) radiation. ... It's not conjecture, it's fact." There are thousands of studies, reports, and articles to back up his statements but I won't take my time or waste your space to list them. Although we recognize the health value of vitamin D, it is best to get that from a good diet or a supplement ... and not by risking your life. This event is wrong on so many levels ... but for us melanoma folks, it is sending a really dangerous message to the public, that tanning, from the sun or tanning beds, is safe and healthy and can prevent numerous cancers/diseases. Tan skin is damaged skin and damaged DNA, and that is an invitation to skin cancers and melanoma. Using a tanning bed is playing Russian roulette with your life. When we talk about melanoma, we are talking about a horrific cancer that has no cure and no effective treatments, so it is not a cancer that you would want to risk getting to prevent breast cancer. And yet the indoor tanning industry uses this exact "logic" to lure in clients. There is nothing positive about this bikini parade except for the $$$ in the pockets of the tanning salon, which will get lots of publicity! If the tanning salon truly cared about saving lives and preventing cancer, they would stop frying people in their UV radiation equipment!

    1. My heart is broken for you. The only thing I can say is that I am determined to open my mouth whenever I see anything like this. The guy selling the sun as a solution for breast cancer is a myth that has been debunked more than once. I don't know what made me more irate-the bikini parade to make breast cancer "sexy" or the fact that she owns a tanning salon (they have one of the STRONGEST lobbies in DC, just found that out in my research) OR the place she was sending the donation.....

      Again.... I am so sorry your daughter was taken by this awful disease.

      Thank you for spelling it out very clearly.... and, I love what Dr Larry Norton says of Vitamin D.... "I prefer to call it a substitute" because there are safe ways to get every other nutrient and vitamin EXCEPT D. "There's no safe, natural way to get Vitamin D" ....

      Hugs to you,


  32. Post Script....
    The parade attracted 39 bikini clad women.... Many thanks to commenter "Jamie's Mom" for sharing with me on twitter...



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