Hello! It's time for another installment of Breast Cancer Action's monthly e-newslettera collection of news, notices and action alerts for people concerned about the breast cancer epidemic. Welcome to any new e-alert members! If you think you've been added by mistake, please follow the directions at the bottom of the email to unsubscribe.
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In this issue...
TAKE ACTION: Breast Cancer Awareness Month is over. . .your action still matters
IN THE NEWS: Ductal lavage study results, Femara as adjuvant therapy, EPA study funded by chemical industry
SAVE THE DATE: BCA in San Antonio, TX 12/8-11, BCA in Austin, TX 12/12
BCA IS HIRING: Community Organizer and Development Associate positions open
FAQ of the MONTH: How much have breast cancer rates risen over the years?
SUPPORT BCA: Buy a Rossmoor calendar as a holiday gift
1. TAKE ACTION: Breast Cancer Awareness Month is over. . .your action still matters
Thanks to all of you who took action, thousands of women and men across the country looked beyond the flurry of pink ribbons this October to ask where all the money raised in the name of breast cancer is going. BCA's Think Before You Pink campaign got enormous press coverage and our internet flash movie was forwarded widely. We can reach even more people and send the message that breast cancer matters every month of the year. We will be here - dedicated to ending the breast cancer epidemic - as long as it takes. We need your activism now more than ever. Please take a minute to follow the links below:
Forward BCA's internet flash movie if you haven't already. Educate your friends and family about the need for a more coordinated, focused breast cancer research agenda.
Email the research funders. Let them know it's time to get it together!
2. IN THE NEWS: Ductal lavage study results, Femara as adjuvant therapy, EPA study funded by chemical industry
Ductal Lavage Study Results
Back in 2001, BCA reported on this new technology for looking at breast cells to see if they are cancerous or possibly on the way to becoming so. We titled our article: For Whom the Cells Toll: How Promising is Ductal Lavage? The most recent study of ductal lavage, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute Ductal Lavage Findings in Women With Known Breast Cancer Undergoing Mastectomy, Vol. 26, No. 20, October 20, 2004 shows that the technology is not effective as a means of detecting or diagnosing invasive cancer.
As for what ductal lavage can do, and what the implications might be on the treatment side for being able to find cells that are on their way to becoming cancer, but arent cancer yet, ignore the hype and stay tuned.
Breast Cancer Screening Test Deemed Inaccurate, Reuters, 10/20
Femara as Adjuvant Therapy
The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the use of Femara (letrozole) for postmenopausal women with primary breast cancer who have finished five years of adjuvant (post-surgury) treatment with tamoxifen. The drug was already approved to treat advanced breast cancer but can now be used to reduce the risk of recurrence. The study of 5,100 women, conducted by the National Cancer Institute of Canada, was stopped after only 2 1/2 years when results showed that 132 women taking the placebo pill had a local cancer recurrence compared to 75 of those on letrozole. The study's initial results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 340, No. 19, October 2003.
It's unusual that the FDA approved this new use of Femara based on only one study. Media hype and pharmaceutical companies' desires to put new drugs on the market often preempt the thorough study of new drugs before they are released. It's telling that the New York Times published this news in the Business section rather than the Health section. A longer trial will be needed to enable us to make definitive conclusions about the benefits of Femara. Thus far, little is known about the long-term effects of aromatase inhibitors like Femara. Some of the known side effects include hot flashes, arthritis, osteoporosis, musculoskeletal syndrome (aches and pains in soft tissue and joints), and neurocognitive problems (with memory, attention, and word finding).
FDA Approves Drug for Early Breast Cancer, Associated Press, 10/29
EPA Study Funded by Chemical Industry
The Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to accept $2 million from the American Chemistry Council to help fund a study exploring the impact of pesticides and household chemicals on young children. The study will pay 60 families $970 plus a t-shirt and a camcorder to document the pesticides and household chemicals their children are exposed to through normal home applications. The Environmental Working Group, an environmental watchdog group, questioned why an agency with a $572 million research budget needed to accept industry contributions to conduct scientific research. They are concerned that industry could influence a study that could lay the groundwork for future regulation.
Chemical Industry Funds EPA Study, Washington Post, 10/26
3. SAVE THE DATE: BCA in San Antonio, TX 12/8-11, BCA in Austin, TX 12/12
Lunch with BCA in San Antonio
Wednesday, December 8th, noon - 1:30 and
Thursday, December 9, noon - 1:00
San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk - Cactus Flower Caf
711 East Riverwalk
Let's make our voices heard! The San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium is the largest annual medical conference dedicated exclusively to breast cancer research. Advocates are only a small percentage of the attendees, but together we can make our presence known. It is important that breast cancer advocates have a voice in breast cancer research and policy. BCA will host two lunches during the Symposium for activists to come together and learn more about increasing their visibility at scientific conferences. Please RSVP to Brenda at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-243-9301.
We also need volunteers to help staff our booth at the Symposium. If you're interested in volunteering for a 2-hour shift any time December 8-10 please contact Brenda at email@example.com or 415-243-9301.
Meet BCA in Austin
Sunday, December 12th, 1 - 3 pm
BCA members Fern Ramirez and Sarah Weddington will be co-hosting a house party in Austin, Texas. BCA executive director, Barbara Brenner, will talk about key issues in breast cancer and share some highlights from the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. This gathering is open to everyone. If you have friends in the area please encourage them to attend! For more information or to RSVP contact Celeste at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-243-9301. Space is limited so don't delay!
Host your own house party for BCA
4. BCA IS HIRING: Community Organizer and Development Associate positions open
The time has come for me to say goodbye to Breast Cancer Action. It has been an amazing place to learn, grow, and work for change for the past 2 1/2 years. I believe fiercely in BCA's mission and work, and no matter where I go I will always be a "bad girl of breast cancer!" Check out our website for a full job description.
We will be seeking a full-time Development Associate to start in January 2005. Responsibilities include: donor relations, database management, campaign support, foundation research, and benefits and special events coordination. Candidates should have a minimum of one year's experience in nonprofit development. Look for the full job description on our website next week. Cover letter and resume to Alex Momtchiloff at email@example.com.
5. FAQ of the MONTH: How much have breast cancer rates risen over the years?
Breast cancer rates have been climbing steadily in the United States and other industrialized countries since the 1940s, amounting to more than one million cases per year worldwide. During the past half-century, the lifetime risk of breast cancer more than tripled in the United States. In the 1940s a woman's lifetime risk of breast cancer was one in 22. In 2004, it was one in seven. Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in American women ages 34 to 44. Although breast cancer in men accounts for less than one percent of the disease, in the United States the incidence has increased by 25 percent in the past 25 years. An estimated 1,600 men were expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004.
Once a disease almost exclusively of postmenopausal women, breast cancer now strikes women in their 20s and 30s. Of the estimated 211,000 women in the United States diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, approximately 10,500 were women under 40.
More American women have died of breast cancer in the last 20 years than the number of Americans killed in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined.
A significant body of evidence indicates that exposure to the ever-increasing number of synthetic chemicals in our environment and to radiation are contributing to the increased incidence of breast cancer. Considerable resources are spent encouraging women to make changes in their personal lives that might reduce their risk of breast cancer. But many factors that contribute to the disease lie far beyond an individual's personal control and can only be addressed by government policy and private sector changes. Breast cancer is not just a personal tragedy; it is a public health crisis that requires political will to change the status quo. Fundamental changes are needed in both the public and private sectors regarding the production, use and disposal of chemicals known and suspected to increase the risk of breast cancer.
State of the Evidence: What is the Connection Between the Environment and Breast Cancer?
Report co-published by BCA
-- YOUR INPUT WANTED: Is there a question you want answered, or an issue that you want BCA's opinion on? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll try to answer it personally or feature it in a future e-newsletter!
6. SUPPORT BCA: Buy a Rossmoor calendar as a holiday gift
Inspired by the movie 'Calendar Girls', the Rossmoor retirement community in Walnut Creek, California has produced a spoof pin-up calendar featuring residents of the community. One hundred percent of all proceeds from sales of this high-quality calendar go directly to BCA. For further information or to purchase a calendar (minimum $10 each), call Angela Carrier at 415-243-9301 x10, or email her at email@example.com. BCA extends many thanks to the Rossmoor community! Read more about the calendar and check out the cover photo!
That's it for this edition! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about this listserv.
Thanks for your continued support of BCA. Until next time,
Kendra Klein, Community Organizer
Toll free at 877-2STOPBC (278-6722)
Our members are the driving force behind our efforts to end the breast cancer epidemic. Because Breast Cancer Action does not accept funding from the government or the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, we need your support. You can donate on-line, or call 415-243-9301, or toll-free at 1-877-278-6722. All gifts are deeply appreciated.
Breast Cancer Action is funded in part by a grant from the California Wellness Foundation (TCWF). Created in 1992 as an independent, private foundation, TCWF's mission is to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention programs.