Breast Cancer Vaccine False Hope

According to a recent Stanford Social Innovation Review poll, only 61 percent of respondents believed that nonprofit organizations would lead the world into a better future. Real societal change keeps pace with the trust we hold in the nonprofit organizations responsible for driving that change. But what happens when that trust is broken? Last week, news of a Mayo Clinic breast cancer vaccine trial went viral. Outlets around the world erroneously reported it as a new, groundbreaking cure. The complexity of big problems like breast cancer can drown attempts to get started with solutions. We never want to discourage innovation or become paralyzed by anxiety, but good intentions can’t take the place of evidence-based science.

What if instead we brought together all breast cancer research organizations to ask the important questions and drive all of our missions forward without giving the public a false sense of hope? We’ve made much progress thus far, and with that progress we have earned a certain degree of trust. But that trust shouldn’t be taken for granted and can be quickly depleted.

In 2019, when values and institutions across the spectrum are under evaluation, we all need to recommit to honesty, integrity, and transparency.

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