National Breast Cancer Coalition

For Immediate Release:

US Has Made Little Progress toward Ending Breast Cancer Despite Public Perception to the Contrary

Washington, D.C., May 2, 2011—The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) today released a comprehensive report on breast cancer, "Ending Breast Cancer: A Baseline Status Report," the first of what will become an annual Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® Progress Report.

"If we are serious about ending breast cancer we must first understand the reality of the disease at every level," said NBCC President Fran Visco. "This baseline report provides a snapshot of the current state of breast cancer, with a an overview of  breast cancer trends, research, advocacy, and public policy, and the advocate perspective on the barriers that have hindered progress."  The report concludes with the framework for how NBCC intends to ensure meaningful progress toward ending the disease in the next nine years.

Inside the Report
Americans may be surprised to know that in 2011, someone in our country is dying of breast cancer every 14 minutes. Despite years of awareness campaigns and widespread screening—the incidence of late stage breast cancer has not changed since 1975. Worldwide, by 2030, three-quarters of a million women are expected to die each year from the disease. "Given the attention and resources directed to breast cancer, the public understandably believes that we have made significant progress," according to Visco. "The reality of the disease is much harder to accept."

Five-year survival statistics have been used in our country to paint an unrealistic picture of the disease. Though NCI reports five-year survival from early breast cancer at 98% this does not reflect the real experience of people with breast cancer. Within that number are many women with metastatic disease, or breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, and women who will recur and be diagnosed with metastatic disease in the future. They will not be survivors. This figure also includes women who never would have had a life-threatening type of breast cancer. Screening makes no difference in that outcome.

Key Points in the Report
Breast cancer is a political issue. The level of government funding for research, the expansion and regulation of access to health care, the regulatory process for drug approval, and health insurance are just some of the issues that are determined through the political process.

Since 1991, over 830 resolutions and bills with the words "breast cancer" have been introduced in the United States Congress.

More than a billion dollars is invested in breast cancer research each year in the US alone.

The current infrastructure and focus in breast cancer has not led to significant progress in ending the disease or in preventing deaths from the disease. This is true for research and health care and also advocacy: more of the same will not produce different results.

Changing the Conversation About Breast Cancer

We owe it to all of our daughters and sons, and granddaughters and grandsons, to try something new. NBCC advocates have a new approacha new strategyto change the conversation and to answer key questions in breast cancer to ultimately end the disease by January 1, 2020. The plan is to disrupt the status quo on all fronts with the sole purpose of directing attention and resources to achieve Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®. The majority of breast cancer research focuses on finding the next treatment drug; NBCC is focused on two issues:

  • Determining the causes of and how to prevent breast cancer metastasis
  • Preventing the disease from developing in the first place

Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® is a call to all of us who care about breast cancer to push toward the goal. NBCC is calling for a global campaign to end breast cancer by 2020. This bold and radical goal is rooted in NBCC’s sense of urgency, tenacity and focus.

About NBCC
In 1991, the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) was founded with a mission to eradicate breast cancer. On September 20, 2010, NBCC established a deadline to end breast cancer—Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®—the end of breast cancer by January 1, 2020.

NBCC links hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of individuals from across the country into a dynamic, diverse coalition that gives breast cancer a meaningful voice in Washington, D.C. and state capitals, in laboratories and health care institutions and local communities everywhere.

The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) is dedicated to ending breast cancer by January 1, 2020 through the power of grassroots action and advocacy. NBCC increases funding for breast cancer research; monitors how those funds are spent; expands access to quality health care for all; and ensures that trained advocates influence all decision making that effects breast cancer.

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