The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC), on September 20, 2010, announced a campaign around which all of its efforts will be focused for the next nine years – a deadline to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020.
This revolutionary approach by a health advocacy organization reflects the NBCC’s unwavering commitment to the value of evidence- based science and its confidence in the power of advocates to provide the leadership needed to bring about real change in the world of breast cancer. Since its inception, the NBCC has taken on the big issues in breast cancer, involved the scientific community and trained advocates in all initiatives. They have always understood that systems change and those “big picture” strategies are what is needed to end breast cancer. The Deadline is the logical next step in their history.
The Deadline campaign is a strategic plan that will critically evaluate current research, healthcare priorities, financial incentives, funding mechanisms and advocacy efforts. It will demand unprecedented coordination, information sharing and accountability from all stakeholders.
Despite billions of dollars spent on research over the last two decades, increased mammography screening, (we spend $3.3 billion annually on mammograms) and an explosion of pink products meant to increase “awareness,” there has not been a significant reduction in the number of women dying from breast cancer. In 1991, 119 women died from breast cancer every day in the United States. Twenty years later, that number is 110 women every day. NBCC points out that if we continue making progress at the current rate, it could take more than 500 years to end breast cancer.
Further, The National Cancer Institute recently released data on the costs of cancer care to this country. Breast cancer was the highest of all cancers at $16.5 billion annually. They also estimate lost productivity from breast cancer to be $12.1 billion.
What is needed is a new approach – as NBCC says “the end of business as usual.”
In 2011, NBCC will convene two summits around topics believed to be the promising means of ending breast cancer. The first will be held in August on how to stop metastases from taking women’s lives. The second, in October, will be on preventing the disease entirely. An international “brain trust” of experts from different fields, including researchers, scientists, economists, policy makers, engineers and more, will be gathered at the summits. They will identify areas that are most promising and develop the questions that will then become topics of catalytic workshops.
NBCC uses the example of the Apollo Project to explain why the Deadline isn’t impossible. Historians have identified key components that shaped the project and ultimately led to its success: “. . . a sense of urgency, a commitment of resources, a multi-faceted management with a singular focus and the accountability of a very clear and public deadline.”
In May 2011, NBCC released a baseline report Annual reports will be made public that will detail the progress being made, barriers remaining and next steps to meet the deadline. Everyone will be held accountable.
As an organizational member of NBCC, and a member of their Board of Directors, the WBCC is proud to join the NBCC in beginning to change the conversations about breast cancer from awareness and screening to ending breast cancer.
You as an individual, or as an organization, can endorse the Breast Cancer Deadline 2020 campaign. See the links on the side of this page. We will publish testimonials from individuals and leaders to share what others are thinking and saying about a deadline to end breast cancer. Add your voice to the conversation that we are all helping to change!
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Go HERE to make a donation, and upload a photo of yourself or a loved one to the clock.