Washington, D.C., May 29, 2012—The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) applauds Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) who, along with Senators Collins (R-ME), Brown (D-OH), Murkowski (R-AK), Shaheen (D-NH), Heller (R-NV), Warner (D-VA) and Grassley (R-IA) introduced legislation, S. 3237, aimed at ending breast cancer. Similar legislation, H.R. 3067, was introduced in the House of Representatives last fall by Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA-33) and Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH-2) and currently has more than 210 bipartisan cosponsors.
"This nation has made a significant investment in biomedical research and specifically in breast cancer that has brought us to the point where we can apply our knowledge and finally end breast cancer," said Fran Visco, President of NBCC and a 24-year breast cancer survivor. "This bill is vital to that effort."
The introduction of S. 3237 is a victory that underscores the power of grassroots advocacy, a critical component in Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®, NBCC’s initiative to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020. Earlier this month, NBCC hosted its Annual Advocate Summit which drew more than 600 attendees from across the country. The event culminated in a lobby day which included more than 400 meetings on the Hill. Advocates highlighted the urgency around the introduction of the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act.
Over the past decades, government, private and charitable sectors have invested billions of dollars in technology development, biomedical research and in additional areas that can impact breast cancer. As a result there are now new tools and technologies, and a new understanding of basic biological processes and risk factors important in breast cancer. Despite these investments and discoveries, very little has changed in terms of breast cancer incidence, morbidity and mortality rates over the past 40 years. In the United States, the chance of a woman developing breast cancer during her lifetime has increased from 1 in 11 in 1975 to 1 in 8 today. In 1991, 119 women died of breast cancer every day. Last year, that number was estimated to be 110, adding up to nearly 40,000 lost lives. Globally that number was nearly 500,000.
"Today, we know little about how to prevent breast cancer or how to prevent deaths from the disease," said Visco. "While we have discovered new ways to treat breast cancer, they have not had a great effect on the important outcomes: preventing breast cancer and making certain no one dies of it."
The Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act focuses on these two areas, the primary prevention of breast cancer and preventing breast cancer metastasis—the spread of the disease to other parts of the body, which is responsible for more than 90 percent of breast cancer deaths. It creates the Commission to Accelerate the End of Breast Cancer comprised of several carefully selected representatives of biomedical research, business, breast cancer advocacy, and other related and unrelated disciplines, who have demonstrated an ability to be innovative, creative and strategic.
This "lean and mean" Commission would be tasked with identifying promising opportunities, tools, technology and ideas not currently being prioritized for breast cancer by the public and private sectors, but which, taken together and applied to this issue, hold true promise in ending breast cancer. It will then create collaborations to leverage these opportunities and move them forward. This approach will harness the nation’s continued drive for innovation, and help ensure its continued position as the worldwide leader in medical and scientific advancement.
According to Visco, "Building on the decades of this nation's investment and achievement in these areas, we could significantly further our efforts to end breast cancer deaths and learn how to prevent the disease within the decade."
About the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC)
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 supports increasing 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 impacts breast cancer. Join NBCC, learn more and take action. Visit BreastCancerDeadline2020.org.