Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Putting the "What's Under Our Shirt" Campaign to Rest

 I received this latter from AirXpanders CEO Scott Dodson today,

Dear Ms. Silberman,

On behalf of AirXpanders I would like to sincerely apologize for the insensitive outreach that you received last week on behalf of our company.  This language was neither reviewed or approved by the company and its trivialization of breast cancer patients worldwide is unacceptable.  As you know, we have worked with Lazar Partners to have this campaign taken down immediately and will not proceed with it or any other campaign in its place.

As a company, we fully support a woman’s right to choose what treatment may be right for them based on their particular situation.  It is equally unbelievable to us that over half of the women who present for mastectomy are never told what their options are for reconstruction; however, through state inspired legislation and the great work at the ASPS, this too is changing.

Nevertheless, the points that you and your peers have brought up are incredibly valid and we will take them to heart in the positioning of our technology at the appropriate time.  Our device simply creates an anatomical space under the chest muscle for a permanent implant following a mastectomy.  In a clinical setting it has shown that it can help patients reach full expansion faster than the technology that is currently used without needles and can be controlled by the patient based off of her comfort.  Any other claim or inference that it can do anything else is unfounded and not supported by the company.

Personally, my mother was successfully treated for malignant ovarian cancer which as you know is genetically quite similar to breast cancer.  She now approaches every mammogram with the fear that she will have recurrence or develop breast cancer independent of her previous surgery.  Equally, virtually everyone in our company has had their or someone they love’s lives touched by breast cancer.  With a 1 in 8 prevalence rate I am sure that it is this way everywhere.

Again, please accept my apology and acknowledgement that the inappropriate and insensitive inferences sent to you and other individuals will never occur again.  In the future we will make donations to charities and foundations that support curative measures and helping women understand their treatment options for breast reconstruction.  

With Sincerest Regards,

Scott Dodson
President & CEO

So I think we can say we successfully let all involved know how we feel about out cancer being minimized, sexualized and reduced to the place where it grew -  and at least one firm will not be using the sexy melon terminology when trying to sell a product to cancer patients again.

So I want to thank everybody who jumped in with me to make our voices known, or who worked with the other bloggers involved who were as outraged as I was at this insensitive social media campaign.

All I truly want is to educate people about this disease and how it should be portrayed.

I've come a long way myself since I started this blog and we can't expect people to get it instantly, especially in a world where pink is used to sell porn, and motorboating women for cancer charities is considered acceptable.  But we have done our small part to enlighten and for that, I thank you all.


  1. Thank you. You have done much more than just a "small part."
    Elizabeth J.

  2. Your advocacy is inspiring! Thank you for standing up for yourself and the many other patients who want to be seen as people and not extensions of their body parts!

  3. metastatic breast cancer alliance is actually the mercedes benz car club of america. You click the link and it promotes car sales. Pretty slick to post a comment saying you are inspired by the message here and do the exact thing that the message is trying to fight. Self promotion in the guise of cancer support. shame on you!

    1. Leslie, I removed it.

      To clarify, somebody posted a congratulatory comment and had a link that said they were the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance. When you clicked the link, it took you to a car sale site. So it was bait and switch, or a serious mistake in URLs.

      However, there actually IS a metastatic breast cancer Alliance and the appropriate link is here:


      I didn't want anybody to think I was against this alliance and that's why I deleted it.

      For the record, I do not remove dissenting comments (which this was not anyway) but I ALWAYS remove spam. If you want to advertise with me, contact me, although I very rarely even try to monetize this blog, and I may very well blog about you for free. Everything I do is to help cancer patients, not myself.

      I don't allow links to sale sites, or funding sites (even seemingly worthy ones) or anything that is asking for money or to buy product. I want to check them out to make SURE they are not scamming or unrelated to our interests. So ask first.

      There are many such sites that I do believe are helpful and necessary and so if you CONTACT me I may post about it. As a woman who has regained her health, however temporarily, I'm now interested in beauty and healthy living and may discuss that some. That's the evolution of cancer.

      But this is my blog, I decides who advertises here. It has to be of value for those of us who have gone through this experience or still are. On the other hand, I welcome comments about my posts, even when they disagree with me, as long as respect is maintained.

      (If you call me names I'll delete you but if you disagree you get to post. Also, just since I am clarifying, blogger stops allowing posts after a week or two and I have to approve them after that time period, and I don't always see them as I don't look unless I am doing a new post. So that might be why you haven't seen a comment immediately.

      Okay, that's clarified I hope. :)

    2. i hope that I didn
      t over step any boundaries with my direct comment to the benz people. If so I apologize. I realize now I should have just pmed you and let you run with it. Sorry:( I would say you handled and responded to the issue amazingly

  4. And they responded so reasonably - I am glad to see that.


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