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Conspiracy of Hope

Conspiracy of Hope

An explosive book that exposes the truth about breast cancer screening.

For decades, women have been told that mammograms save lives. Yet many scientists say that this is in fact not true. Conspiracy of Hope reveals how breast cancer screening was introduced in the US before there was any good evidence it made any difference, and an unfounded belief in early detection caught on quickly in Canada and other developed countries. Today the evidence is starkly clear. Screening does more harm than good. Still women, and their doctors, continue to buy into a myth perpetuated by greed, fear, and wishful thinking.

Conspiracy of Hope illustrates how a vortex of interests came together to make breast screening standard medical practice and why it's so hard to persuade them they are wrong. The radiologists, the imaging machinery manufacturers, and the pink ribbon charities are all part of that story. It is a tale of back-stabbing and intrigue, of exploiting fear and hope, while distorting and misrepresenting the evidence. Or simply ignoring it.


Renée Pellerin is a former television and radio producer with CBC. For many years, she was a documentary producer for Marketplace, specializing in investigative health stories. She was also a producer at the Fifth Estate, consultant to the CBC Newsworld program Health Matters, executive producer of a documentary unit at CBC Newsworld, and a producer at Morningside and Sunday Morning. Before she left CBC, she was the head of the Health Content Unit for CBC News, leading a team of health journalists in radio, TV, and online.

Pellerin has won several national and international awards for her work, including a Michener Citation of Merit for public service in journalism. She has also taught journalism at the National University of Rwanda in Butare and at Ryerson University in Toronto, and has held the visiting chair in journalism at the University of Regina. She holds degrees from the University of Saskatchewan and University of King’s College in Halifax. She now lives in Niagara-on-the-Lake.



"Everyone who has been touched by breast cancer should read Pellerin's meticulously researched book. Pellerin knows the science better than many of the doctors in whose hands women have placed their trust." — Dr. Brian Goodman

"Renee Pellerin has written a careful and convincing story of a group of courageous scientists and researchers who challenged the dogma of breast cancer screening and the powerful groups that have overstated its value." — Dr. Barron Lerner

"If you've ever wondered why mammography screening has been the target of fierce debate for thirty years running,read this book. Renée Pellerin exposes how the early detection mantra has always been a mix of good intentions,magical thinking, and flim-flam. What it is has never been is full-on science. The balance of evidence on screening mammography weighs heavily toward lesser benefit and more harm than anyone ever wanted to believe. Conspiracy of Hope chronicles how belief born from hope and perpetuated by vested interests can be hard to shake,even when confronted with a wealth of research." — Gayle Sulik

288 pages
Pub date: October 2, 2018