National Breast Cancer Coalition

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes NBCC and Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® different than the other breast cancer awareness organizations that ask for my time and attention?

NBCC is aware. But NBCC is not a breast cancer awareness organization, and the focus of Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® is not awareness. Awareness will not end breast cancer. It’s time to change the conversation from raising awareness to knowing how to end the disease by January 1, 2020.

  • We have to change the focus of the conversation, the focus of the research—the focus of all the resources—toward finding a way to end this disease.
  • We’ve invested billions of dollars in breast cancer. It’s time to focus that investment on ending breast cancer.
  • We have to make sure the money is spent toward the goal of ending breast cancer.

Why has there been such a lack of progress toward eradicating this disease?

We asked the same question. Read our Progress Report: Ending Breast Cancer: A Baseline Status Report, to understand why there’s been such a lack of progress.

What causes breast cancer?

We don’t really know what causes most breast cancer.

  • However, in the past 10-15 years, knowledge has exploded and now we understand more about the biology of breast cancer. But we still don’t know how breast cancer starts or how to stop it from spreading.
  • The systems of research and care have been gathering more data rather than harnessing the knowledge we have in a collaborative way. 
  • If we continue down this same path, it could take as many as a couple of centuries for us to end breast cancer.

What happens to all the money that’s being raised for breast cancer?

Some of the money goes to treatment and research. But it isn’t a question of how much money; it is how it is spent. We should put money toward finding a solution to the problem—about how to save lives and end breast cancer.

What is Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®?

Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® is a call to action for researchers, policymakers, breast cancer advocates and all other interested parties, to know how to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020.

  • Strategic Plan: A strategic plan guides Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®, engaging all interested parties to meet the goal of knowing how to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020. At the core of the strategic plan is a series of summits, catalytic workshops and collaborative efforts that bring together visionary, high-risk, high-impact leaders. These leaders include representatives of the scientific, regulatory and health care communities as well as industry, policy makers and advocates. 
  • Summits, Catalytic Workshops and Collaborative Efforts: This series of high-level gatherings is already underway, focusing and aggregating efforts on the key areas of learning how to prevent breast cancer metastasis and learning how to prevent the disease from developing. Major issues are being identified for further work, and catalytic workshops will be held on these issues. Biennial leadership summits will then take place with a multi-disciplinary and visionary group to examine progress and provide guidance and direction for the ongoing work to achieve the main goal of ending breast cancer.
  • Policy and Legislation: Activities to educate Congress and the Administration are ongoing, and legislation, the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act, has been introduced in Congress to support Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®.
  • Baseline and Annual Progress Reports: A Baseline Report in May 2011 and annual progress reports thereafter will summarize the state of breast cancer and the state of NBCC’s work to end breast cancer. The reports will detail advances made, barriers remaining and next steps to meet the deadline; these reports hold us and others accountable to the goal.
  • Outreach: Working with current NBCC activists and engaging new activists around the globe, we will change the conversation from awareness to prevention, from detecting to ending breast cancer. Through the use of cutting-edge web tools, social media and advertising, you—along with new activists—will be engaged to play an important role in educating your community about how to end breast cancer and bring us closer to our goal.

Is it realistic to set a date?

  • Yes. Without the deadline there is no sense of urgency, no change in the status quo.
  • If we change the focus and the conversation, we can meet the deadline. But we need everyone on board.

What can the average person do to help end breast cancer?

Utilize the resources found on NBCC’s website.

  • Whenever you discuss breast cancer, shift the conversation from awareness to prevention, from detection to ending breast cancer. Challenge people to expect an end to breast cancer. Challenge people to demand an end to breast cancer.
  • Donate to the effort at so we can continue to convene stakeholders, catalyze progress and engage more people worldwide.
  • Visit NBCC’s online Action Center regularly.
  • Get your organization and other organizations to endorse Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®. Visit
  • Visit to get On the Clock and get others On the Clock.