Rhode Islanders may be surprised to know that in 2011, someone in our country is dying of breast cancer every 14 minutes.
With all the attention and resources directed to breast cancer, the public understandably believes that we have made significant progress. The reality is quite different. Despite all the years of awareness campaigns and widespread screening, the incidence of late-stage breast cancer has not changed since 1975. We may have new diagnostics and ways to treat breast cancer, but the important outcomes, preventing breast cancer and making certain no one dies of it, continue to elude us.
The United States has invested billions of dollars in breast cancer research and technology. Our investments have brought us to the point where we have the knowledge, technology, and tools to make a real difference. We owe it to all of our daughters and sons, and granddaughters and grandsons, to leverage those investments to end this disease.
Rhode Island breast cancer advocates are among the leadership of The National Breast Cancer Coalition and we are calling for an end to breast cancer by Jan. 1, 2020 through Breast Cancer Deadline 2020. This serious and strategic plan of action is creating a paradigm shift in the breast cancer community to refocus resources and efforts on the goal of ending breast cancer. It is time to change the conversation. Real peoples’ lives depend on it. There’s not a moment to spare.
Learn more at BreastCancerDeadline2020.org. The Rhode Island Breast Cancer Coalition, organized in 1992, is the state's only breast cancer advocacy organization. Visit the website at BreastCancerRI.org.
Marlene McCarthy H.L.D. is chairperson of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee for the National Breast Cancer Coalition.