Anyone who has picked up a magazine or walked through a shop recently knows that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
It's hard to miss the displays of pink products that benefit breast cancer charities.
But before you buy, ask yourself if your donation will really help women in relevant ways, or will you simply be funding the same useless animal experiments that have been going on for decades?
The basic model of cancer research has not changed much since the 1970s: grow cancer cells in a laboratory, inject them into mice, attack the resulting tumours with the experi-mental drug 'du jour' and see what happens.
But there is a world of difference between humans and animals in their metabolism, biochemistry, physiology and genetic makeup, so the results seen in mice can not be reliably applied to people.
Meanwhile, as we spend millions of pounds to cure cancer in mice, we are missing opportunities that could help real women in the real world, such as making breast cancer treatment more accessible and educating people about the role that diet plays in cancer prevention.
Sadly, new technologies that could truly benefit patients, like the three-dimensional model of human breast cancer recently developed by British scientists, made by growing cells from normal and cancerous breast tissue, remain the exception.
This October, we don't need more pink ribbons or pink T-shirts - or mice with breast cancer. We need a commitment to funding programmes that will result in true medical progress, including better patient services, education and vital research that does not rely on outdated animal models.
Bradford Street, Tonbridge,