In September 2010, the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) set a deadline to end breast cancer and launched a plan to achieve it. Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® is a call to action for all stakeholders - policymakers, researchers, breast cancer advocates and others - to concentrate their efforts on knowing how to end the disease by the end of the decade. It is intended to shift the focus away from what is not truly benefitting women, to encourage all to consider new approaches, and to really look at the disease differently. Since the launch of Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®, NBCC has worked relentlessly towards this goal and will continue until the goal is met. The Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act, first introduced in the 112th Congress, is a vital component of Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® and complements and enhances these efforts.
In order to achieve the goal of Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®, NBCC knows it must change the conversation about breast cancer wherever it is happening, including in Congress and the Administration. We will need to leverage resources and discovery to focus on the goal of ending breast cancer. The Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act defines an important role that the federal government must play in this effort.
The Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act focuses on identifying strategies for primary prevention, stopping women from getting breast cancer, and understanding and preventing metastasis (the spread of cancer), which is responsible for 90% of breast cancer deaths. It would create the Commission to Accelerate the End of Breast Cancer comprised of a few representatives of biomedical research, business, breast cancer advocacy, and other related and unrelated disciplines, who have demonstrated an ability to be innovative. This tactical 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 hold true promise in ending breast cancer. It will implement strategies to leverage these opportunities and maximize prior investments in these areas.
The Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act would not duplicate the efforts of other government agencies and programs, but instead help ensure our nation’s limited research dollars are leveraged to accelerate progress already begun. It would seek to harness the nation’s continued drive for innovation, and help ensure our position as the worldwide leader in medical and scientific advancement. 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 next decade.
Today, we know little about how to prevent breast cancer or how to prevent deaths from the disease. 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.
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. Worldwide, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women with over 1,300,000 cases each year. Breast cancer is also the leading cause of cancer death in women, with more than 438,000 women dying from the disease worldwide in 2010, a 37.5% increase since 1990.
The National Cancer Institute estimated that breast cancer care in the United States cost $16.5 billion in 2010 and cost the nation $12.1 billion in lost productivity. Over the past decades, government, private and charitable sectors have invested billions of dollars towards breast cancer, from which we have developed new tools and technologies and a new understanding of basic biological processes and risk factors important in breast cancer.
But, 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 in 1991, 119 women died of breast cancer every day. This year, that number is estimated to be 110, adding up to nearly 40,000 lost lives.
NBCC continues work on its Artemis Projects - a series of collaborations among patient advocates and researchers from diverse perspectives. The purpose of these collaborations is to develop strategies, research plans and timelines for answering key breast cancer questions. The first of the Artemis Projects was launched in 2011 and brought together a group of advocates and scientists to take a strategic, systematic yet broad approach to the development of a breast cancer preventive vaccine within five years. As part of this project, NBCC has awarded two seed grants, one to identify possible vaccine targets using existing and developing human genomic data within different breast cancer subtypes, and the other to look at infectious agents and breast cancer. A second Artemis Project on Metastasis will be launched this summer to focus on tumor dormancy.
In addition, NBCC continues to track the state of breast cancer as well as the status of NBCC’s work to end breast cancer through our Annual Progress Reports. These Reports hold us and the entire breast cancer community accountable and provide transparency to our efforts. NBCC’s second Annual Progress Report, released in August 2012, documents the Coalition’s activities since the baseline report was published in 2011. Also released in August 2012 is the Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® Blueprint. This document outlines NBCC’s detailed plan to achieve the Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® goal of ending breast cancer.
NBCC asks Members of Congress to co-sponsor and support the passage of the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act.
For more information on this or NBCC's other legislative priorities, please contact Dana Richter, NBCC Director of Government Relations at drichter@BreastCancerDeadline2020.org or (202) 973-0595 or refer to NBCC's website at www.BreastCancerDeadline2020.org.