Prevention, education, advocacy
In September 1991, five Montreal women with breast cancer—Carolyn Gibson Badger, Sharon Batt, Kathleen Glass, Joan Piper and Margaret Waller—joined forces to end their isolation and to move the disease from the private to the public sphere. They formed a group to raise awareness of breast cancer issues, to advocate for better diagnosis, treatment and care; and to give women a voice in decisions about treatment, services, health policy and research.
At BCAM's first public meeting, in April 1992, sixty women and reporters crowded into a small church hall and BCAM was launched publicly. These pioneers went on to organize conferences, demonstrations, and a range of public education events with the goal of putting the focus on prevention and the link between toxic substances in our environment and this disease. Twenty three years later, members voted to change the organization's name from Breast Cancer Action Montreal to Breast Cancer Action Quebec to reflect the broader reach of the organization.
Most women today have contact with at least one woman affected by breast cancer. Concern about the disease has convinced a new generation of women to join the movement so that today, BCAQc benefits from a wide network of members, partners and collaborators.
Summary of events to come
BCAQc remains one of the few voices in Canada and Quebec focused on the primary prevention of breast cancer. It has miraculously survived and grown over these decades in spite of the corporate and governmental attacks on women and public health groups. There are few other feminist and environmental justice organizations with your mandate and your staying –power. Read moreDr. Jim Brophy and Dr. Margaret Keith, Occupational and environmental health researchers
It is with the deepest respect that I salute BCAQc’s 25 years! The activists who, throughout all these years, spoke out about the need for prevention, within our capitalist system that is geared to destruction rather than creation and that largely ignores this message, had to do so with firm conviction and from an intelligent and informed standpoint. Long life! Read moreLinda Boisclair, Past Chair of Comité de la condition féminine du Conseil central du Montréal-Métropolitain de la CSN
…And that’s what makes BCAM so effective: they love to talk to people in ways that grab attention be it an interactive and animated talk or a march down rue Sainte-Catherine… It’s that wonderful inventive spirit from dedicated volunteers that I love most about BCAQc. Congratulations on 25 years of dedicated promotion of safer products and a healthier community! Read moreBev Thorpe, Networks and Advocacy for Clean Production Action
Breast Cancer Action Quebec has been way ahead of the curve in revealing the impacts of toxins in our everyday lives. And they have been doing this persistently for years. BCAQc has been creatively curating knowledge, events and community and inspiring us to make critical connections about our bodies, our health and our changing environment.Liz Miller, Professor, Concordia University and Deb Vanslet, Production Coordinator, Studio XX
During my summer internship at BCAQc I was asked to assist and sit in on a workshop for teenage girls about the harmful effects the seemingly innocent cosmetics we use can have on our bodies. There was never a doubt in my mind over the importance of the work undertaken by BCAQc, but to see it unfold and take effect before my eyes moved me beyond words. Read moreJessica Romera, student intern
If people ask me how they can advocate for breast cancer prevention, the first place I send them is BCAQc. For a quarter century, BCAQc has been a leading voice in the effort to eliminate carcinogens in our environment and a powerful agent of social change. I am proud to support their continued efforts to stop breast cancer before it starts and to congratulate them on this historic milestone.Samantha King Professor, Queen’s University and author Pink Ribbons Inc.