Purdue Cancer Culture and Community events shine spotlight on pink ribbons movement, abuses, need for prevention

March 19, 2013  

pink ribbons book cover

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Author and researcher Samantha King, who wrote the 2006   book "Pink Ribbons, Inc.: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy," will headline a panel discussion for this spring's Cancer Culture & Community Colloquium at Purdue University.

King, an associate professor, associate director and graduate coordinator for the School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences at Queens University in Ontario, will join experts from National Public Radio, Indiana University and Purdue for the event.

The panel discussion, titled "The Unintended Consequences Pink - Reorienting the Cause," is at 7 p.m. April 15 in Krannert Auditorium.

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Samantha King

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King's book was turned into the 2011 National Film Board of Canada documentary about the pink ribbon campaign, directed by Léa Pool and produced by Ravida Din.  A free showing of the film, "Pink Ribbons, Inc." is at 7 p.m. April 11 in Forney Hall, Room G-140.

All Cancer Culture & Community events are free and open to the public. The Oncological Sciences Center in Discovery Park, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts, Krannert School of Management, Purdue Student Union Board, and the Patti and Rusty Rueff Department of Visual and Performing Arts are sponsoring the upcoming colloquium.

"The goal of the program and the focus on the 'Unintended Consequences Pink' is to foster an open discussion and raise awareness of the commercialization of the pink logo as it relates to the various aspects of the breast cancer continuum - from raising funds for breast cancer research and public awareness of breast cancer through product designs and popular media coverage to how the ubiquitous pink ribbon impacts breast cancer patients," said Marietta Harrison, director of the Oncological Sciences Center, the Discovery Park research center leading CCC.

"The audience will be invited to participate in this lively panel discussion about breast cancer and how the economics of breast cancer directly or indirectly touches us all," she said.

King will participate in the panel on breast cancer culture and its effects on individuals and society. Her topic will be Advocacy and Analysis. Joining her on the panel and their topics are:

* Cancer Research - Phil Low, the Ralph C. Corely Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry at Purdue and founder of companies Endocyte and On Target.

* Medical Ethics - Peter Schwartz, an associate professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine and an associate professor of philosophy at IU.

* Media - Moira Gunn, host of NPR's Tech Nation and its regular segment, BioTech Nation, who obtained her doctorate in mechanical engineering from Purdue.

* Cause Marketing - Susan Rowe, executive vice president and communication planning director of Next Marketing & New Media.

* Primary Prevention - Sophie Lelièvre, associate professor of cancer pharmacology at Purdue, leader of the Breast Cancer Discovery Group with the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research and co-founder of the International Breast Cancer and Nutrition project.

Arden Bement, chief global affairs officer emeritus at Purdue and the David A. Ross Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Nuclear Engineering, will serve as moderator. Bement also is director emeritus of the Purdue Global Policy Research Institute.

In "Pink Ribbons, Inc.: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy," King traces how breast cancer has been transformed from a stigmatized disease and individual tragedy to a market-driven industry of survivorship. The book examines how some corporations have turned their formidable promotion machines on curing breast cancer while dwarfing public health prevention efforts and stifling calls for investigating why and how breast cancer affects so many people.

King's book also grapples with issues of gender and race in breast cancer campaigns of businesses such as the National Football League and reveals the cultural impact of activity-based fundraising, such as the Susan G. Komen Foundation's Race for the Cure.

Discovery Park's Oncological Sciences Center, in partnership with the College of Liberal Arts, launched the annual Cancer Culture and Community initiative in 2007 to explore how the arts and literature provide an outlet of expression to those struggling with cancer.

The Oncological Sciences Center, created through a gift from The Lilly Endowment in 2005 and housed in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, is the Discovery Park arm of the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research. It builds on existing research areas and is expanding Purdue's thrust into nanotechnology, drug delivery, and cancer care and prevention.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Sources: Marietta Harrison, 765-494-1442, harrisonm@purdue.edu

Kristine Swank, operations manager, Oncological Sciences Center, 765-494-4674, kswank@purdue.edu

Related website:
Pink Ribbons, Inc. documentary

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