Buyer beware! Do your homework before buying pink-ribboned products

ATLANTA — When you start seeing pink ribbons everywhere, you know it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

But what you might not know is that not all items sold with the pink ribbon donate to breast cancer research.

Breast cancer survivor Shehzin Tietjen spoke with Channel 2's Sophia Choi to warn people before they purchase items that have pink ribbons on them, and said there are questions they need to ask.

“What percentage of breast cancer marketing and commoditizing the pink ribbon -- how much of that is actually benefiting survivors and women living with breast cancer?” Tietjen asked.

It's hard to tell, because experts say none of the sales are regulated.

“The pink ribbon is entirely unregulated,” said Karuna Jaggar, executive director for Breast Cancer Action. “Anyone can put a pink ribbon on anything, and they do.”


Choi found several items listed on Amazon that had the pink ribbons. But what we don't know is where the money's going.

Experts say before you buy, look closer at the tags. It should say how much money is going to cancer research and to which group.

Many cancer survivors want money for research, not awareness.

“At this point everyone is aware of breast cancer, and we need to see companies going beyond awareness,” Jaggar said.

Tietjen agrees, saying it's up to the buyer to make sure your money goes where you intend, "really knowing when to spend on something so that your dollars make a difference."