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No Family History presents compelling evidence of environmental links to breast before cancer, ranging from everyday cosmetics to industrial waste. Sabrina McCormick weaves the story of one survivor with no family history into a powerful exploration of the big business of breast cancer. As drugs, pink products, and corporate sponsorships generate enormous revenue to find a cure, a growing number of experts argue that we should instead increase focus on prevention--reducing environmental exposures that have contributed to the sharp increase of breast cancer rates.



Reviews of the Book

While billions of dollars have gone toward researching treatments, and before ultimately a cure, for breast cancer, very little has gone toward studying preventative action, except on the personal level (diet, exercise, etc.). This eye-opening book from health and sociology scholar McCormick explores numerous environmental causes of breast cancer, but more importantly casts a harsh light on the motivations of industries that donate to cancer research while manufacturing carcinogenic toxins. The narrative takes a tour of research data and advocacy groups while following the progress of one Long Island woman before undergoing breast cancer treatment. McCormick's text is full of disturbing details, in the form of statistics and individual obstacles; there are thousands of breast cancer diagnoses every year, many for women who take good care of themselves and don't engage in risk behaviors. McCormick also addresses the inevitable question, "Why me?", with a compelling and strident determinism, attempting to jog readers into realizing that giving money and buying products with pink ribbons isn't enough; rather, people must become aware of the chemicals around them and hold corporations accountable with their spending dollars. (June)
--Publishers Weekly

McCormick presents a convincing argument for changing the nature of the breast-cancer awareness campaign from finding a cure to teaching more about prevention. She argues that, outside of family history, a key cause of breast cancer-of most cancers, in fact-is the environment. She shows how not only pesticides but more mainstream household chemicals (such as those found in cosmetics) have seeped into our systems without our knowledge, but often with the knowledge of corporations and even the public officials who monitor them. Plenty of studies are sited to support her claims; in fact, the coverage leans toward being too scholarly for many general readers, but personal anecdotes serve to soften the academic bent. Still, the evidence is there, and it's compelling. As much a call to action as an informative thesis, the book provides a wealth of resources for anyone interested in learning more about the issue.
--Booklist