Positions & Policies

National Breast Cancer Coalition 2020 Legislative and Public Policy Priorities

The National Breast Cancer Coalition’s (NBCC’s) legislative and public policy priorities serve as the foundation of our legislative and regulatory advocacy work throughout the year. Each year, the grassroots NBCC board of directors, with input from our members, sets our public policy and legislative priorities for the coming year with the following process: Issues are brought to the attention of NBCC; staff researches the issue and prepares background information for officers, staff and the board; and the board discusses all suggested priorities at the board meeting, then votes on which issues to adopt and the order of their priority. NBCC focuses its work on issues that will have a major impact on breast cancer and those that are broad in scope rather than narrow issues.

Legislative Priorities

Priority #1:

$150 Million for the Department of Defense (DOD) Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) for FY2021: As a result of NBCC’s grassroots advocacy, the DOD BCRP was created in 1992 to “eradicate breast cancer by funding innovative, high-impact research through a partnership of scientists and consumers.” The DOD BCRP is widely viewed as an innovative, unique and efficient medical research model that has proven to be accountable to the public and has produced extraordinary results. NBCC seeks continued funding for this successful program.

Priority #2:

Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act: A bill to waive the 24-month waiting period for Medicare eligibility and the 5-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for individuals with Metastatic Breast Cancer. This legislation would waive all waiting periods for Medicare eligibility and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) eligibility on the basis of disability for individuals with metastatic breast cancer.

Priority #3:

Preservation of the Medicaid Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program: Congress enacted the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act in 2000 after years of NBCC grassroots lobbying and influence. NBCC remains committed to ensuring all women and men screened and diagnosed with breast cancer through federal screening programs have access to the treatment they need.

Public Policy Priorities

Priority #1:

Guaranteed Access to Quality Care for All: Ensuring access to quality, evidence-based health care has been a top priority of NBCC for many years. Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the NBCC grassroots board of directors approved a Framework for a Health Care System Guaranteeing Access to Quality Health Care for All, which built on NBCC’s Principles for Quality Care. In 2010, NBCC endorsed and advocated for the passage and implementation of ACA, which marked important steps forward in access to quality health care for individuals with, and at risk of, breast cancer. NBCC opposes the—and will work to defeat any and all efforts to—repeal the ACA or replace it with something less expansive.

Priority #2:

Ensuring the Participation of Educated Patient Advocates in Science Research and all Levels of Health Care Decision Making: NBCC continues to work to ensure that educated patient advocates who represent a constituency have a meaningful “seat at the table” in all levels of health care decision making that affects their lives.


NBCC has gathered the latest scientific evidence on a range of breast cancer topics that impact the care and treatment of women with or at risk of the disease. We have analyzed this information from the perspective of consumer advocates. Read more about the evidence we used and to see the scientific references.

Breast Cancer Information and Positions

Mammography for Breast Cancer Screening
Harm/benefit analysis: The scientific evidence from randomized trials on the impact of screening mammography in saving lives is conflicted, and the quality of the individual trials are limited. The benefits of screening mammography in reducing mortality are modest, and there are harms associated with screening. Mammography does not prevent or cure breast cancer and has many limitations. Read more.

Breast Self-Exam (BSE)
The evidence does not support efforts to promote and teach BSE on a population-wide level in any age group of women. If a woman wishes to be taught BSE, she should be informed of the potential risks and benefits. Read more.

Abortion and Breast Cancer Risk
It has been hypothesized that surgical (induced) and spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) increase breast cancer risk. However, the highest quality studies show that there is no link between abortion and breast cancer risk. Read more.

Women need more information on the potential risks and benefits of taking tamoxifen, raloxifene and aromatase inhibitors for breast cancer risk reduction. There is no current evidence that these drugs prevent breast cancer; some studies suggest that they may reduce the chance that a woman will get breast cancer during a certain period of time. NBCC urges physicians to prescribe chemoprevention drugs cautiously and responsibly. Read more.

Access to Investigational Interventions Outside of Clinical Trials
Access to investigational drugs outside of clinical trials must be carefully designed to be fair and to protect the research process that we depend on to bring us closer to eradicating breast cancer. Read more.

Genetic Testing for Inherited Predisposition to Breast Cancer
Few benefits, many limitations: A genetic test for breast cancer should only be utilized with full consideration of its limitations and implications. Genetic testing cannot cure or prevent breast cancer, and it cannot accurately predict whether an individual woman will or will not develop breast cancer. Read more.

Breast Cancer Facts and Figures
In 2020, it is estimated that 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among U.S. women and approximately 2,620 new cases among U.S. men. In addition to invasive cancers, 48,530 new cases of in situ breast cancer will be diagnosed among women in the U.S. in 2020 (ACS 2020). Read more.

Core Values for Breast Cancer Research
NBCC believes it is critical that research be designed and implemented to effect significant change in how breast cancer is understood, prevented, and treated. There are eight core values for breast cancer research that facilitate progress and improvement for individuals with or at risk for breast cancer. These core values are: integrity, impact, accountability, respect, beneficence, justice, shared decision-making, and flexibility. These values must serve as guiding principles for any breast cancer effort. Read more.

Breast Cancer Advocate Involvement in the Research Process 
Breast cancer advocates who are trained, educated and represent a patient constituency must be meaningfully involved in all aspects of decision-making that affect breast cancer research. This is the only way to ensure that funds are effectively spent and adequately address the causes and prevention of breast cancer, develop optimal treatments and cures for breast cancer, and focus on the best possible means to end the disease. Read more.