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The American Cancer Society recognizes that lifting a patient’s spirits can play a huge role in recovery, which is likely why they participate in the Look Good Feel Better program. But according to breast cancer advocacy group Breast Cancer Action, the makeup kits that the society has been handing out to breast cancer patients may be doing more harm than good.

According to the New York Daily News, the group charges that one of the chemicals used in the cosmetics included in the kit can interfere with drugs used to treat breast cancer.

“One of the chemicals we found, methylparaben, has been found in the lab to interfere with Tamoxifen, the most common breast cancer treatment,” says Karuna Jaggar, Breast Cancer Action’s executive director.

The San Francisco-based group is calling for the American Cancer Society to stop distributing the kits.

“The American Cancer Society should be protecting patients,” Jaggar said. “They should not allow companies that use chemicals like this to participate in the program. That is all we are asking.”

However, it doesn’t appear that the cancer society will cease distribution anytime soon. The voluntary health organization responded to the groups claims with a statement.

“Participants are provided information on the potential risks of cosmetics use,” said an ACS spokesperson. “The majority of ingredients in products found in LGFB kits have undergone an assessment by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, an independent, non-governmental panel of scientific and medical experts that is supported by industry, the US Food & Drug Administration and the Consumer Federation of America. Scientific experts at the Personal Care Products Council review all products in the LGFB kits against additional criteria to minimize the potential for skin irritation. Because they are undergoing treatment, it is important for LGFB participants to discuss possible adverse reactions to these products with their doctor.”

The spokesperson continued:

“The Society believes the benefits of Look Good Feel Better outweigh the minimal risks. However, as the American Cancer Society has done for more than 100 years, we will continue to carefully monitor our programs, including LGFB, and their impact on cancer patients to help us eliminate cancer as a major health problem and alleviate suffering from the disease.”


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