National Breast Cancer Coalition

Call to Action April 2017

NBCC and the Affordable Care Act

NBCC advocates pushed hard against congressional efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Our advocates have spent years developing important relationships with their Senators and Representatives and they leveraged those relationships to make their voices heard. Access to quality health care is a right and is key to ending breast cancer. Proposed GOP legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act was so controversial that it failed to make it to the House floor for a vote.  Thanks to the power of advocacy, lawmakers got the message that taking away our accessibility to affordable, comprehensive healthcare is not in the best interest of the American people.

For some Americans, denying individuals with pre-existing conditions and initiating caps on lifetime coverage could have meant life or death.  Women and men with breast cancer depend on the affordable coverage made possible by the ACA and Medicaid expansion.  The proposed legislation not only would have restricted access to Medicaid and replaced subsidies with tax credits for low and middle income individuals and families, but it also would have eliminated mandated essential health benefits. 

The House Republican Caucus and the Trump administration are looking at other possibilities to dismantle the healthcare law, through other legislation or regulatory revision or otherwise. There is as of yet no clear strategy and we must be vigilant. 

The two week congressional recess through April 24 offers opportunities for NBCC advocates and other stakeholders and activists to participate in town halls and to meet with members of Congress in their states and districts. It is important that you continue to share ACA anecdotes and breast cancer stories with NBCC, your members of Congress, and through social media.  Let NBCC know what actions you take over the next two weeks by sending us an email to myacastory@breastcancerdeadline2020.org.

 NBCC in the News

Over the past month, NBCC President Fran Visco spoke with The Cancer Letter about the NIH budget cuts and partnerships between scientists and advocates, and with The Washington Post about President Trump's proposed preliminary budget. 

An Update on the Artemis Project®

The annual meeting for the Artemis Project® was held March 10-13, 2017. The participants brought many different perspectives to the discussion and included advocates, clinicians, and scientists with expertise ranging from development of clinical trials, vaccine development, clinical oncology, immunology, cell biology, genomics, computational biology, and data mining. The meeting report will be published soon. Previous reports can be found here.

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Can bone-modifying medications stop bone metastasis and save lives?

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) published a new clinical guideline for the use of bisphosphonates as adjuvant therapy in breast cancer, based on a literature review and the Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group (EBCTCG) meta-analysis of individual patient data.

There are a few bone-modifying drugs, such as bisphophonates and denosumab, that are used to treat diseases associated with low bone density, such as osteoporosis. Some have also been approved for use in cancers that metastasize to the bone.  Bisphosphonates have also been tested in randomized control trials for effectiveness as adjuvant therapy for breast cancer.

How do these drugs work? Bisphosphonates bind calcium and accumulate in the bone, where they are taken up by the bone-degrading cells called osteoclasts. Within the osteoclasts, these drugs disrupt the function of these cells or cause cell death. Denosumab is a biologic agent that is a monoclonal antibody that binds RANKL. RANKL is a natural ligand that stimulates the development of osteoclasts, therefore, denosumab prevents the development of these cells.

The ASCO and CCO data review included information from 27 trials (some in progress) and represented more than 18,000 women. The authors reported that statistically significant benefit and sufficient data were available to support the use of the bisphosphonates zoledronic acid (given intravenously every 4 to 6 months) or clodronate (given orally, daily) in postmenopausal breast cancer patients as an adjuvant therapy.

The benefit was greatest for women who were postmenopausal in all outcomes with the exception of distant recurrence outside of the bone. A particularly attractive aspect of the analysis is that other than postmenopausal status, the benefit was not limited to a subset of breast cancer patients.  Benefit included reduced bone recurrence; distant recurrence and breast cancer mortality, and any cause of death. The greatest risks were for osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) and renal dysfunction.

Survival data were not available for denosumab, thus the recommendation is for continued clinical trials with this biologic.

Zoledronic acid is approved for adjuvant breast cancer treatment in Canada. It is approved in the U. S. for treating low bone mass and metastatic disease. Clondronate is not approved for any therapeutic use in the U. S.

References

S. Dhesy-Thind, et al., The use of adjuvant bisphosphonates and other bone-modifying agents in breast cancer: A Cancer Care Ontario and American Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline. J. Clin. Onc. 10.1200/JCO.2016.70.7257 (6 March 2017).

S. Dhesy-Thind, et al., Use of adjuvant bisphosphonates and other bone-modifying agents in breast cancer. Toronto (ON): Cancer Care Ontario. Program in Evidence-Based Care Guideline No. 1-22-A (19 September 2016).

Application 2017 Project LEAD® Institute

Want to help set the research agenda for breast cancer? Become a leader in the field of science advocacy? Make a difference? The Project LEAD® Institute is a six-day intensive science course for breast cancer advocates covering the basics of cancer biology, genetics, epidemiology, research design and advocacy. The course provides a foundation of scientific knowledge upon which participants can strengthen and empower themselves as activists. Taught by renowned research faculty, this is a unique opportunity for those interested in learning more about working as an NBCC research advocate.

Tuition is free and includes all workshop materials and meals for five days. You must be an NBCC member to apply. Applicants can also apply for need-based scholarships to assist with lodging and travel expenses. Accepted participants must attend the entire course. Click here to get further information or to register.

The deadline to submit completed applications is April 18, 2017. Questions? Please email ProjectLEAD@BreastCancerDeadline2020.org

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NBCC ADVOCATE LEADERSHIP SUMMIT & LOBBY DAY- Washington, DC May 20-May 23 2017

Want to know what is happening in breast cancer? Attend the 2017 Advocate Leadership Summit and Lobby Day

Hear from renowned scientists about current research into preventing breast cancer and metastatic disease; learn about various approaches to health care reform; interact in small settings with scientists and network with other advocates. Become an activist and learn how to raise your voice. This year’s Summit will include all that and more. Join us at the Renaissance Capital View hotel in Arlington, Virginia for the speakers, topics, skill building, message training and strategic planning that will energize us for the important work in the year ahead. On Tuesday, May 23, 2017 we will once again host a Lobby Day on Capitol Hill.

The registration fee for this year’s Summit is $500: This entitles you to three days of outstanding programming, Summit materials, breakfast, lunches and refreshment breaks, the Monday night reception, and breakfast, lunch and transportation on Lobby Day. This does not include hotel lodging. Advocates will participate in the full range of sessions, plenaries, keynotes, strategy workshops, public policy training and Lobby Day. Please note that there is no charge for participating in Lobby Day, even if you aren’t able to attend the Summit. Register directly here.

Become a Fundraiser: Set up a Deadline Champions fundraising page to support Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® and earn benefits as you progress—such as free Summit registration at the $500 level and free three-night shared hotel room at the $1,000 level.

BRING A NEW LEADER, GET A DISCOUNT: If you bring a new attendee (she or he has never attended the Leadership Summit), both you and the new attendee will receive $100 off your $500 summit admission fee. So, both you and your newly recruited advocate leader would pay $400 each or each raise $400 to attend the summit. The new attendee could have attended an NBCC conference (2012 or before) or Project LEAD® (any year) in the past.

TRAVEL SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE: Once you have registered and paid or raised your registration fee and are interested in applying for a travel scholarship, please email Selena at sstanley@breastcancerdeadline2020.org for more information. You must have attended a previous Advocate Leadership Summit (2013-2016) to qualify for a travel scholarship.

HOTEL: Reservations can be made by clicking here or by contacting the hotel at 1-800-228-9290. Be sure to mention National Breast Cancer Coalition to get the special room rate of $241 +tax per night. If you are interested in requesting a roommate, click here.

For Frequently Asked Questions, Click Here

Get started today! REGISTER NOW!

Join NBCC for the first Women with Balls event in NYC!

NYC Women with Balls bowling fundraiser will be held at the Bowlmor Lanes Times Square on May 2, 2017.

This is a great event that brings together like-minded, compassionate and energetic women and men to raise money, bowl and have fun – all for a really wonderful cause. The event will feature food, drinks and prizes. And of course, bowling.

There are three ways you can participate:

1. Teams of 8 bowlers raise a minimum of $3,600 to play and will receive a private lane.

2. Teams of 4 bowlers must a raise minimum of $1,800 to play.

3. Individuals who raise a minimum of $450 will be paired with a team.

Interested in being a 2017 Women with Balls Event Sponsor? Download the Sponsorship Opportunities document and the Fact Sheet to learn more! For more information and to register your team, go to: www.stopbreastcancer.org/wwbnyc2017 . If you are unable to attend donate, contact Sharnita Goins at 202-973-0569 or SGoins@breastcancerdeadline2020.org.

Enjoy a Night of Laughter and Support NBCC!

NBCC has proudly joined forces with GFour Productions, producer of Menopause The Musical®. Through May 1, the show that has brought joy to millions of women is turning laughter into the best medicine, and will donate 100% of the proceeds from their Hot Flash Fans sales to NBCC. Additionally, patrons can save 20 percent on tickets when using the code CURE (use MMCURE for Las Vegas shows) and GFour Productions will donate $5 of every ticket sold to NBCC. Now celebrating 15 years of female empowerment through hilarious musical comedy, Menopause The Musical® has evolved as a "grassroots" movement of women who deal with life adjustments after 40 by embracing each other and the road ahead. Menopause The Musical® is playing in cities nationwide. For a list of tour dates and ticket information, visit www.MenopauseTheMusical.com