National Breast Cancer Coalition

For Immediate Release:

National Breast Cancer Coalition Releases 2nd Annual Progress Report on the Disease

Report finds little progress in preventing breast cancer diagnosis and deaths

Washington, DC, August 13, 2012—The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) today released its Second Annual Progress Report, which summarizes the state of breast cancer and the status of Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®, NBCC’s campaign to end the disease by January 1, 2020. The report is an update to the 2011 Baseline Report, which described the lack of adequate progress despite billions of dollars in public and private resources directed at the disease.

The new report finds that there were no breakthroughs in breast cancer diagnosis or treatment in 2011. While there are new ways to treat the disease, there has been little progress on preventing the incidence of breast cancer and making certain no one dies of it.

"The attention and resources devoted to breast cancer lead the public to believe we are making significant progress toward ending the disease," said Fran Visco, president of NBCC and a 25-year breast cancer survivor. "Our report shows this is not the case."

The overall number of women diagnosed with breast cancer continues to increase as the population ages, though the rate remains constant, and mortality is declining slightly. It is estimated that, in 2012, 290,000 women and 2,190 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer; 39,510 women and 410 men will die of the disease. That amounts to one death every 14 minutes. Without a change in this trend, it is estimated that worldwide nearly 750,000 women will die from breast cancer in 2030.

Public policy will play a key role in making the end of breast cancer a reality. NBCC’s report detailed its significant activity in this arena despite the difficulty in passing public health legislation of any kind. As of July 2012, the 112th Congress had introduced more than 9,500 pieces of legislation, including the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act (S.3237/H.R. 3067) created by NBCC. Only 105 have become law. Of those, just one directly influences public health. NBCC will continue to move forward with an aggressive public policy approach.

The report also included a media analysis that showed news outlets minimized the harsh realities of breast cancer, focusing instead on risk factors, screening and treatment.  This analysis, which examined stories in newspapers and leading women’s magazines during the month of October 2011, also found that many news stories featured personal accounts of younger women despite the fact that the median age at diagnosis is 61. As a result, women overestimate their lifetime risk of developing the disease as well as their risk at a young age. The metastasis or spread of breast cancer – responsible for 90 percent of deaths from the disease – received little or no media coverage in the stories included in the analysis. Only one in nine news stories featuring personal accounts portrayed women battling metastatic disease.

To end breast cancer by 2020, NBCC has implemented a strategic plan of action focused on the singular goal of ending the disease. In the first full year since the 2010 launch of Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®, NBCC narrowed its focus to four key areas:

  1. Research, including new strategies and collaborations;
  2. A new public policy approach, including federal legislation and a plan to ensure worldwide access to lifesaving interventions;
  3. Grassroots advocacy and education of a large corps of activists around the globe to engage their communities; and
  4. Communications and media outreach to change the conversation to ending breast cancer by 2020.

"With less than eight years remaining until January 1, 2020, we must put forth our most ambitious efforts and pursue them with uncompromised commitment," said Visco. "The goal is achievable with the right amount of passion, leadership and funding."

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About the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC)
The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) is dedicated to ending breast cancer by 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 impacts breast cancer. Join NBCC, learn more and take action – visit


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