COVENTRY – The Rhode Island Breast Cancer Coalition, a statewide organization with national ties, is challenging medical researchers: End breast cancer by 2020.
Women at the forefront of the movement including Coventry resident Marlene McCarthy – who co-founded the RIBCC nearly 20 years ago and still heads it and who is a board member of the powerful National Breast Cancer Coalition – say awareness is no longer the issue.
That milestone has been achieved. What’s needed now, says McCarthy “is to make strident efforts to change from awareness to [presenting] the facts of the disease; to educate people that billions are spent on research – money that goes for treatments but not prevention.
“There is no understanding of a cure.”
Moreover, she notes, failures in research are rarely, if ever, published in professional journals, making it possible for someone else to start spending funds on testing that’s already been proven useless.
One of the reasons finding a cure has dragged on so long, she believes, is that researchers from disparate institutions have been reluctant to work together and share information.
Over the past two decades, the RIBCC has raised up a tireless army of advocates who have lobbied the State House and the U.S. Congress, assailing them with these facts: One in every eight American women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime; every three minutes in this country a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 die each year.
At this minute, approximately three million women in the United States are living with breast cancer, more than 28,000 of them in Rhode Island.
Advocates have demanded that steps be taken, research funded and laws passed, and they’ve had great success.
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