Success at Hearing on Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act

May 23, 2008

Fran ViscoWe have great news! The House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing Wednesday on the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act (BCERA), H.R.1157. Many statements of support for this legislation were made by Committee Members. Singer-songwriter and NBCC advocate Sheryl Crow and Dr. Kim Lyerly of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center joined me as witnesses testifying on behalf of the bill and they were great! Subcommittee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) concluded the BCERA panel stating, “I think we’re well on our way to moving this legislation as a result of today.” This action moves us another step closer to passing this vitally important bill.

Watch Sheryl Crow’s opening statement.

Then, keep the momentum going by applying pressure on the Senate side. Majority Leader Reid has twice brought the bill to the Senate Floor, but the objections of one Senator prevented the bill from passing. Now we need to get the leaders of the Senate to come to agreement so the Senate can vote on and pass this bill. Please write letters urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to pass the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act this year.

Thank you for all your advocacy!

–Fran Visco, NBCC President


Be a Leader with Project LEAD®

May 19, 2008

The National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund will hold its premier intensive science training program, Project LEAD® Institute, in Denver, Colorado this summer. The model program has graduated more than 1,300 advocates since 1995.


Since 1995, NBCCF has trained more than 1,300 advocates through Project LEAD to take meaningful seats at all research and public policy tables where decisions about breast cancer are made . The five day intensive program includes sessions on molecular biology, genetics, proteomics, research design, epidemiology and critical appraisal skill building. The new expanded Institute was introduced last year and was highly successful. Featured in this new Institute format are sessions on peer review, a mentorship program, a laboratory experience, and a choice of advanced topics.

Course Dates: July 29 – August 3, 2008
Course Location: Denver, Colorado
Application Deadline: May 30, 2008

Limited scholarships are available for those in financial need.

Project LEAD® is supported by a generous grant from the
Avon Foundation.

NBCC Advocacy Continues after Conference Attendees Return Home

May 14, 2008

NBCC advocates have left DC, but they continue to lobby their Members of Congress to push for passage of the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act (S.579/H.R.1157). Majority Leader Reid brought this bill to the Senate Floor for a vote the evening of NBCC’s April 29th Lobby Day. The bill did not pass due to the objections of one Senator. Since then, 2 additional Senators have joined the vast majority of the colleagues to express their support by cosponsoring S.579, bringing total sponsorship to 70 Senators. NBCC applauds the Nebraska and Kentucky advocates who successfully sought the support of Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Jim Bunning (R-KY).

The Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act has equal momentum in the House of Representatives. Since NBCC’s Lobby Day, 8 additional Representatives have cosponsored H.R.1157. NBCC advocates worked diligently to garner the support of Representatives Jerry Costello (D- IL), Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), Greg Walden (R-OR), Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), Andre Carson (D-IN), John Culberson (R-TX), Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Ed Royce (R-CA). There are 269 sponsors and cosponsors of H.R.1157. This incredible level of support is nearly unprecedented. Of the 12,000 bills introduced in Congress each session, very few, if any, receive this level of cosponsorship. The next step for the bill in the House of Representatives is consideration by the Energy and Commerce Committee.

How can you help push this bill forward to passage this year? At NBCC’s Annual Advocacy Training Conference the more than 600 participants signed letters to the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, asking them to come to an agreement to debate and vote on S.579. If you weren’t there, you can still send your own letters, by simply visiting Also, check NBCC’s Congressional Record of Support to see if your U.S. Representative or Senator has cosponsored this bill. If not, ask him or her to join 2/3 of his colleagues and cosponsor the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act. The time is long overdue for Congress to pass this legislation. They have the power to authorize the National Institutes of Health to work with scientists and consumers and develop a strategic plan for researching the potential links between breast cancer and the environment.

Voices from the Conference — More Conference Video Diaries

May 8, 2008

A big “THANK YOU” to the many conference attendees who stopped by our Interactive Cafe and wrote Blog Reports and/or recorded Conference Video Diaries. For those of you who missed the conference this year, you can read and watch what the advocates had to say about the conference and NBCC. And, if you wrote a report or recorded a diary and haven’t seen it on the blog yet, keep checking back. We’ll be posting more throughout the next few months. For today, here are 4 women sharing their thoughts in Conference Video Diaries. To view other blog posts that include video diaries and/or blog reports, click here.

Holly Anderson

Becky Cwiek

Katherine Lee

Marilyn Lewis

BCERA Goes to the Floor, and the Battle Continues

May 1, 2008

At the conclusion of NBCC’s Lobby Day on Tuesday, April 29, with hundreds of breast cancer survivors from across the country watching from the Senate Gallery, Senator Harry Reid offered the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act (S. 579) for passage and debate on the Senate Floor, saying, “Too many women and their families have waited too long for Congress to act…. It is time to offer more than words of encouragement to those affected by breast cancer…this legislation gives them hope that something can be done to find a cause and hopefully a cure.” After Senator Reid’s offer, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) objected.

NBCC’s president Fran Visco noted: “The Majority Leader has vowed to get this bill passed this year, and he has on two occasions brought it to the Floor of the U.S. Senate for a vote, and each time one Republican Senator stopped the bill from moving forward. We thank Senator Reid for his leadership, determination and persistence. NBCC is confident that he will be successful in overcoming this barrier so that this important bill can be passed this year.”

BCERA has overwhelming bipartisan support. In addition to Senator Reid, 68 Senators have signed on as co-sponsors. The House companion bill, H.R.1157, also enjoys strong bipartisan support and has 260 co-sponsors. The bill would authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services, working through the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to develop a national strategic approach to addressing the environmental links to breast cancer through peer-reviewed grants to collaborations of institutions and community groups. Specifically, $40 million per year in Fiscal Years 2008-12 would be authorized for this purpose.

The pressure of 600 breast cancer advocates on Capitol Hill on Tuesday helped compel Majority Leader Reid to bring BCERA to the Senate floor for a second time within a month. Unfortunately, even with hundreds of advocates watching from the Senate gallery, the opposition remained undaunted and Senator Coburn objected to moving forward with the bill. We have a tough battle ahead of us to pass this important piece of legislation that would increase funding to examine the link between breast cancer and the environment. It will take significant resources to increase our efforts, and we need your support. Please make a gift to NBCC to help us continue to mobilize breast cancer activists around the nation to speak up and speak out to end breast cancer. Click here to donate now.

Honoring Eight Members of Congress Who Fought For NBCC This Year

April 30, 2008

A separate, but equally important part of NBCC’s Annual Advocacy Training Conference is Lobby Day, which always takes place the day after the Conference ends. On that day our 600 advocates take Capitol Hill by storm, as they hold hundreds of meetings with their elected representatives and their key staff members, discussing NBCC’s policy and legislative priorities and enlisting their support. The day is an exhilarating and productive experience for everyone who participates.

In the afternoon, NBCC holds its Annual Congressional Awards reception, to honor those Members of Congress whose efforts were especially beneficial this year. This year’s reception took place on Tuesday, April 29th at 4:30 in the Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building (Room 325.) We proudly honored these eight outstanding lawmakers:

Sen. Sherrod BrownSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT)
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA)
Representative Tom Davis (R-VA)
Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL)
Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA)

In addition, the following nine lawmakers are in NBCC’s “Hall of Fame” in recognition of their steadfast leadership in the fight against breast cancer. (Years of induction are noted.)

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) – 1999
Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) – 1999
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) – 1999
Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) – 1999
Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) – 2001
Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) – 2001
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) – 2005
Representative Sue Myrick (R-NC) – 2005
Representative Lois Capps (D-CA)- 2007

Rep. Lois CappsAll these leaders work to ensure that the federal government makes breast cancer a priority and they support substantive polices that will lead to the end of this disease. We are grateful to our honorees for their commitment and vision.

Fran Visco
National Breast Cancer Coalition


April 30, 2008

From the moment we NBCC advocates departed the bus at Peace Circle only to look up at one incredible view of the U.S. Capitol, you knew it was going to be an amazing day. Arriving by the busloads, hundreds of us moved up the hill in waves, some going directly to early appointments scheduled with Members and/or staff in Senate and House Buildings. Others headed to the ROA Building, our base of operations, to meet additional members of the state delegations and put final touches on the day’s gameplan for forwarding the NBCC agenda with our Senators and Representatives at the scheduled appointments.

NBCC Storms the Hill

You can’t imagine how empowering a sight it is just to see the hundreds of women and men wearing their NBCC Lobby Day 2008 badge, walking the halls of Congress and holding more than 420 meetings with Senators, Representatives and/or their staff to press for a thoughtful breast cancer agenda! It’s incredibly moving to see and hear the enthusiasm of advocates returning to the ROA Building and reporting their successes and accomplishments from their meetings. Being a part of it is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!

Yes it is an exhausting day. But also, it is a day like no other. You have to experience it to know how truly inspiring it is!