ASK CONGRESS TO PUT MORE RESEARCH FUNDING INTO BREAST CANCER PREVENTION! #YWSBC
Your stories matter. The simple act of writing down how breast cancer has impacted our lives can make a difference. Legislative advocacy is a powerful tool for those who want to make a difference on behalf of young women affected by breast cancer.
HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Step 1: Find your Congressional District Representative and two Senators at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/members.
Step 2: Handwrite your personal story about how breast cancer has impacted your life. Include and share any of the facts above in your letter.
Step 3: Pick out an old bra that tells your story; if you don't have one anymore, go out and buy a cheap one. If you are writing on behalf of a young woman in your life you have lost to breast cancer, feel free to send in your letter something with a token or picture that represents them.
Step 4: Mail your message to Congress. Snap a photo to post on Twitter at #YWSBC.
NOTE: Please take out the underwire before sending, otherwise your letter won't make it through security!
This is an independent grassroots campaign that is not affiliated with any breast cancer organization or group. We are a group of concerned women who care about the issues surrounding young women and breast cancer. We want better options for our daughters, sisters, and friends than the options we had for ourselves. Our hope is to empower our fellow citizens to let their voices be heard.
Here's why it's time for young women to move beyond breast cancer awareness...
The incidence of metastatic breast cancer - the most advanced stage of breast cancer - is on the rise in younger women between the ages of 25 and 39.
The pre-menopausal breast in all young women is highly sensitive to radiation, and we currently don't have better screening options than mammography.
For high risk young women who carry BRCA mutations, mammography is widely used as the tool to screen for tumors in young women. Research now suggests that exposing the youngest of these women to even small doses of radiation via screening mammograms might do more harm than good.
For reasons doctors don't completely understand, a young woman's risk of breast cancer actually goes up in the five years or so after she has a child.
Breast cancer research is well funded, better than any other cancer. In 2010, the National Cancer Institute directed $631,228,554 to breast cancer research, but only 16% of those funds were directed at looking at the causes of breast cancer and only 9% were directed at prevention. Yet, a report released in February 2013 by a federal advisory committee of leading breast cancer experts concluded that prevention is the key to eradicating the disease, not early detection or treatment.
So why are we still spending millions on detection and treatment when stopping women from getting it in the first place is the answer?
Despite decades of productive breast cancer research, the number of women diagnosed with the disease continues to rise. In 2012, about 227,000 women and 2,200 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 40,000 women will die from it (American Cancer Society, 2012).
The committee's recommendations in February 2013 included the following:
Develop a national breast cancer prevention strategy to prioritize and increase federal government investments in breast cancer prevention.
Intensify the study of chemical and physical factors that potentially influence the risk of developing and likelihood of surviving breast cancer.
Plan strategically across federal, state and nongovernmental organizations to accelerate the pace of scientific research on breast cancer and the environment and to foster innovation and collaborative science.
Young Women and Breast Cancer Issues
No effective breast-cancer screening tool yet exists for women ages 40 or younger.
*Young women with breast cancer struggle with many issues either not present or much less severe in the lives of older women, including:
-The possibility of early menopause
-Effects on fertility
-Questions about pregnancy after diagnosis
-Concerns about body image
-Challenges to financial stability
*Since breast cancer occurs at a much lower rate among young women than in our older counterparts, young women remain underrepresented in many research studies.
Young Women and Breast Cancer Fact and Statistics
*Women ages 15 to 54 die more frequently from breast cancer than any other cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
*Each year, approximately 70 thousand men and women age 15 to 39 are diagnosed with cancer in the US. Breast cancer accounts for roughly 15% of all cancers in this age group, according to the Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Progress Review Group.
*In 2009, the American Cancer Society predicted more than 190,000 new cases of breast cancer in women. They estimated that roughly 18,600 of these women would be younger than 45.
*Compared to older women, young women generally face more aggressive cancers and lower survival rates. (Partridge, A.H. et al., 2009, Breast Cancer in Younger Women)
*More and more evidence tells us that breast cancer before age 40 differs biologically from the cancer faced by older women. (Carey, L.A. et al. (2006). Race, Breast Cancer Subtypes, and Survival in the Carolina Breast Cancer Study).
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