The DOD BCRP was created in 1992 as a result of the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s “$300 Million More” campaign to increase federal funding for breast cancer research. Due to NBCC’s efforts and the Congressional leadership of Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Alfonse D’Amato (R-NY) in FY1993, Congress appropriated $210 million in the DOD research and development budget for a breast cancer peer-reviewed research program administered by the Department of the Army. As a result of NBCC’s grassroots advocacy and the DOD BCRP’s demonstrated success, Congress has appropriated funding for it each year since.
Since its inception, the DOD BCRP has sought to “eradicate breast cancer by funding innovative, high-impact research through a partnership of scientists and consumers.” It has grown from a small research program to a far-reaching, influential model that others throughout the cancer and broader medical research community have sought to replicate. Some of the keys to the DOD BCRP’s success are:
The DOD BCRP also owes its success to the integrated efforts of all of its partners – from the ongoing dedication of the U.S. Army and their belief and support of this mission, to the Members of Congress who support the program through continued funding, to the scientists and consumers who participate, and to the researchers who every year submit proposals that reach the highest level asked of them by the program.
Despite the success the DOD BCRP has had, breast cancer remains an incredibly complex disease. We still do not know how to prevent it, how to diagnose it and make a real difference, or how to end it. In the United States, the chance of a woman developing breast cancer during her lifetime has increased from 1 in 11 in 1975 to 1 in 8 today. U.S. breast cancer mortality has been declining but only slightly.
In addition, continuing the progress the DOD BCRP has made towards breast cancer prevention and treatment is vital not only to save lives but also to address important economic and health care cost issues. The National Cancer Institute estimates that breast cancer care in the United States cost $16.5 billion in 2010. It estimates if the status quo continues, this care will cost over $20.5 billion by 2020.
NBCC asks Senators and Representatives to urge the Defense Appropriations Subcommittees to include funding of $150 million in the Department of Defense Appropriations bill to fund the DOD peer-reviewed Breast Cancer Research Program for FY2021.