Breast Cancer Deadline 2020: To Know How to End Breast Cancer by January 1, 2020

The Breast Cancer Deadline 2020
The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) has a unique history and an unmatched record of accomplishment in breast cancer. Since NBCC’s inception in 1991, the organization’s mission has been to end breast cancer. Now, NBCC has set a deadline: Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® – to know how to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020. 

According to NBCC, “These are not just words; we have a strategic plan to get there.  While the vast majority of resources are focused on finding the next treatment, NBCC is doing something very different. We are bringing together unprecedented collaborations among scientists, visionaries, and advocates to catalyze, plan and implement work in two major areas: how to prevent metastasis to save lives and how to prevent the development of breast cancer.”

Beginning with a baseline report in May 2011, NBCC has issued Annual Progress Reports about Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®. These reports summarize the state of breast cancer as well as the status of NBCC’s work to end breast cancer, hold us and the entire breast cancer community accountable to the Deadline. Starting in 2013, NBCC  convened biennial Leadership Summits to examine progress and provide guidance and direction for the ongoing work to achieve Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®.

To find out more about Breast Cancer Deadline 2020 and the National Breast Cancer Coalition go to

Think BEYOND Pink

by Maine Breast Cancer Coalition President Bethany Zell
November 2015

Every year, as Breast Cancer Awareness Month begins and the wave of pink floods my inbox, mailbox, TV screen, Facebook wall and store shelves, I cringe. This year, I have lost six friends to breast cancer. In the past three weeks, I have received more than a dozen resource requests from women newly diagnosed with breast cancer in the rural county I serve in northern Maine. What is going on? How can this be happening? Haven’t all of these pink ribbons fixed this problem yet? On the contrary, breast cancer incidence is increasing and, despite small adjustments to treatment regimens, years of campaigns to raise awareness, ever-expanding screening programs, increased fundraising efforts and research, incidence and mortality have not changed significantly.

In the United States, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for women, after lung cancer. The chance of a woman developing breast cancer during her lifetime has increased from about 1 in 11 in 1975 to 1 in 8 today. Approximately 40,290 women and 440 men will die from the disease in the US in 2015, and it is estimated that 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in United States women, and approximately 2,350 among the men. (ACS, 2015)

Worldwide, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women and the leading cause of cancer death among women. In 2012, we lost more than 522,000 women worldwide to breast cancer. That’s more than 1,400 women each day.  (GloboCan, 2012)

The lack of progress is not due to insufficient resources for research.

· Since 2001, the National Institutes of Health has spent roughly a $2.8 billion on breast cancer research.

· The Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (DOD BCRP) has allocated over $3 billion to peer-reviewed breast cancer research since 1992.

· Susan G. Komen for the Cure has spent close to $2.5 billion on research since 1982.                                                 

· The American Cancer Society has funded $86 million of breast cancer research in their multi-year portfolio.

· Since 1999, the Avon Foundation for Women provided more than $175 million to breast cancer research programs.

· Since 1993, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation has funded more than 9.5 million hours of breast cancer research.

More than 40 years and billions of dollars have not ended breast cancer. It has, however, created a robust cancer industry that thrives on raising awareness and producing drugs, screening devices and genetic tests. That’s not to say that all of the research has been fruitless.  We have gained a new understanding of basic biological processes important in breast cancer. We now know that breast cancer is not one disease, but many. We know that breast tumors do not all grow at the same rate or spread in the same way, and it is not the size that determines the aggressiveness of breast cancer but the tumor biology and microenvironment. Some breast cancers are small, found early, and yet are deadly. Some are fast growing. Some grow slowly, are found by mammograms and are treated, but would never have been life threatening. Each subtype of breast cancer has distinct biological features and responses to therapies. Most scientists believe that breast cancer is caused by both inherited and somatic mutations in a specific subset of genes. There is also a growing recognition that cancer does not grow in isolation but is impacted by its immediate environment. Through research we have been able to identify risk factors impacting women, which may affect cancer growth and the body’s response to treatment. Some of these are environmental factors, factors that affect energy balance and obesity, and factors that influence immunity and the tumor’s environment within the body.

Read the entire article.


MBCC Volunteers Take Leadership Role in Ending Breast Cancer

From May 3-5, 2015, Maine Breast Cancer Coalition volunteers Bethany Zell (MBCC President) and Laurel Bezanson (MBCC Advocacy Committee Chair) once again headed to Washington, DC to represent MBCC at the 2015 National Breast Cancer Coalition Advocate Leadership Summit and to meet with Maine's legislators.

Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® is the National Breast Cancer Coalition's global initiative to know how to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020. According to Bethany, "As leaders in the breast cancer movement and supporters of Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®, we are committed to being a part of this important work."

Laurel wrote,
“In 1989 my life changed. At age 38, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and already had ten positive lymph nodes. My treatment was toxic, expensive and lengthy. After treatment, I needed to do something to change the status quo. Subsequently I became involved with the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition and the National Breast Cancer Coalition. I needed to make a difference in other peoples’ lives that were affected by this all-too-common disease. I have been an active member of both groups since 1993. Attending the yearly NBCC Summit is key to ending breast cancer!”

Find out more about how you can get involved.