The Cure for Breast Cancer is Upon Us: Just 500 More Years

Yes, 500. No, it’s not a typo. According to an article by Fran Visco, President of the NBCC, the current rate of progress puts us at a cure in as much as 500 years. With 500,000 new diagnoses worldwide each year and 110 deaths A DAY in the US alone, we’re simply not on the right track.

I am puzzled by the plethora of “breast cancer awareness” messages that bombard us… Maybe I’m wrong, and there lots of us who aren’t “aware” (did you take the poll???), but that just doesn’t make sense to me. The people I know are aware, worried, lost, fact, many of us are all too aware. So how do we move from “awareness” to “cure”?

To that end, I’ve recently returned from an amazing National Breast Cancer Coalition Advocacy Conference in DC. NBCC has launched a very ambitious BREAST CANCER DEADLINE 2020 campaign. Ambitious? Yes. Plausible? Maybe. Important? VERY. The components of this are as complicated, and to simplify them is to short-cut our way to answers (watch for more to come). It was not hope that helped us find a cure for polio, and it was not hope that got us to the moon. It was the pressure of a deadline.

The culmination of three days of briefings, workshops and meetings was a day spent on Capitol Hill with hundreds of other advocates. Our agenda was focused on BREAST CANCER DEADLINE 2020, and the path to get there, beginning with a Presidential Commission that would define research priorities, bring non-traditional parties into the dialogue and chart the course to a cure.

I, for one, don’t have 500 years to wait!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joshua Bettleman
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 08:17:00

    Regrounding – Thank you for giving words to a suspicion I have long had about “celebrity diseases.” It is certainly true that we have given some diseases celebrity status, like breast cancer or MS. Attention (re: awareness)gets heaped on them. Gala benefits are held in their honor. And we all genuinely feel that by simply wearing the ribbon, or walking the marathon, or completing the bike ride, we are somehow contributing to “finding the cure.” I, myself, have ridden in a city-to-shore bike rally for 10 straight years on behalf of MS. I don’t we’re a day closer to finding the cure.

    I wonder – how many execs get paid to advertise these events? How much for the websites, the PR, and the flyers? Not to mention the liability insurance costs? In the end, how much of our “awareness” actually goes to a laboratory where hard science is getting done?

    We should all inherently question any disease that morphs into an institution. Breast Cancer, Inc. is one of them.


  2. Joshua Bettleman
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 13:27:02

    It was in 1961 that John F. Kennedy proclaimed that America would put a man on the moon within a decade. And we did. So…I think that if this nation got its act together, we could cure a cancer within a decade. As long as we spend more money researching it…and less trying to become aware of it!


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