A Mother and her Two Daughters

02 January 2011

It’s Time To Give Breast Cancer A Deadline

This year, in 2011, there will be another 200,000 plus Americans (men and women) diagnosed with breast cancer (compared with 175,000 in 1991, 20 years ago), and 40,000 will die from the disease.  In addition, there are approximately 2.5 million women alive today who have survived breast cancer, but who continue to live with the fear of recurrence and physical traumas resulting from their battle with aggressive treatment.

A friend passed this information along to me yesterday.  Both Gloria's mother and sister died from the disease, her sister from Inflammatory Breast Cancer.  Yesterday I learned from Gloria that a major U.S. initiative has been launched that will change the discussion about breast cancer. 

The National Breast Caner Coalition is a network of hundreds of groups and tens of thousands of grassroots advocates working to end breast cancer.  With a long history of accomplishments, NBCC has now selected a target date for eradication of this horrific disease.  They are changing the conversation to ask, “What must we do differently to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020?"  

Wow, that’s only nine years away!    

NBCC's plan is to aggressively advocate and lobby for increased federal funding for breast cancer research.  In my opinion, a good strategy for one major reason:  It's estimated that more than $8 billion is spent in the United States each year on the treatment of breast cancer - a huge industry.  We should then ask, "why should we count on private sector entities to feel motivated to prevent breast cancer from occurring when there is great financial gain in treating this disease?  There are many who believe, me included, that it will ultimately be federal research programs and non-profit research and treatment facilities that will likely find the cure and hopefully the keys to prevention. 

One of the major players pushing for this goal is former President Bill Clinton who has long had great interest in finding a cure for breast cancer.  You may recall that Clinton’s mother, Virginia Clinton Kelley, died from breast cancer less than a year after he became President of the United States.  At that time, Clinton created the National Action Plan on Breast Cancer, a collaboration of government, science, private industry and patients.  During his administration, breast cancer research funding increased 65%, Medicare began 100% coverage of annual mammography screenings, and the US government provided insurance coverage to uninsured women with breast and cervical cancer detected by Federally supported screening programs.  Then in 1998, Congress enacted the Women's Health & Cancer Rights Act, guaranteeing among other things that if an insurance company covered mastectomy surgery, then they also had to cover reconstructive surgery and other post-mastectomy benefits.  

In 2005, President Clinton and the National Breast Cancer Coalition launched the Virginia Clinton Kelley Fund.  The Fund supports NBCC's educational programs that train breast cancer survivors to influence research and public policy, foster innovation in research and health care, and expand access to quality care. This fund also supports collaborations among women with breast cancer, researchers and health care stakeholders. 

President Clinton supports NBCC’s Breast Cancer Deadline 2020. In a video featuring the former President, he shares his appreciation saying, “I applaud the National Breast Cancer Coalition's courage to launch this ambitious campaign to end breast cancer by 2020. The stakes are too high, the losses have been too great to let another decade go by.” 

You say impossible?  It was America that declared war on polio and found a cure within seven years.  It was America and President Kennedy that committed to putting a man on the moon, which was accomplished in nine years.  So why shouldn’t we believe that the same can be done for breast cancer? 

When President Kennedy launched Apollo, he said, “We seek to go to the moon and do other things. Not because they are easy, but because they are hard…because that goal will measure the best of our abilities.”

Today the conversation changes – only nine more years until we end breast cancer. 

Join the movement, see to it that 1 in 8 women in the US will no longer be plagued with this devastating disease.    

Note:  This is not intended to be a partisan blog.  It was President George Bush and his wife Laura that took breast cancer's eradication to a global level by creating the Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research of the Americas, an initiative that unites experts from the United State, Brazil, Costa Rica and Mexico.  The First Lady would later promote awareness and break down many stereotypes by helping to create the US-Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research.  

1 comment:

  1. Yes! We can do it. Oh won't that be a great day - thanks for posting Stacy!


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