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Breast cancer, scientific uncertainty, and the rise of women’s activism

A Detective Story

Dr. Ted Schettler & Carolyn Raffensperger, with Kaitlin Butler and Ann Manning

Organized by Future First, the Women’s Congress for Future Generations, and the Science and Environmental Health Network

View the full conversation and clips from the evening here.

October 21, 2015, 7pm-9pm. Carondelet Center, Sisters of Saint Joseph, 1890 Randolph Ave, St Paul, MN 55105. Free and Open to the Public

About the event:

Up until the late 1990’s, health decisions were made like most other science-based decisions: you waited for scientific certainty, then you acted. This approach seemed to work for problems considered to have a single “cause” and a single effect (for example, vitamin C deficiency causing scurvy or a virus causing polio).

By the 1980s, it was obvious that waiting for scientific certainty wasn’t working for the emerging problems of the 21st century. These problems were characterized by long delays between cause and effect, many “insignificant” causes adding up to a big effect, and the ominous rise of chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, and cancer.

Breast cancer is a case in point.  Over the course of one generation the prevalence of breast cancer rose from one-in-25 women to one-in-8.

The conversation focused on the next chapter in this story of science, women’s leadership and new, practical rules for changing the game. How to protect future generations is a detective story, but it’s no mystery.