Maine Breast Cancer Coalition
Fall 2016 Newsletter
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Hannaford Supermarkets Make It Easy To Donate to MBCC

In recognition of “Breast Cancer Awareness Month", Hannaford supermarkets will make it easy for their customers in Maine to help individuals with breast cancer or breast health-related needs.
For the third consecutive year, during October, Maine Hannaford customers will be able to donate $2 or $5 at the register of their local stores to support the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition's Support Service Fund.
In addition, earlier this year Hannaford Supermarkets made a generous donation to the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition of $2,500 worth of food cards, which were awarded to Support Service Fund applicants who needed support for living expenses and nutrition while in breast cancer treatment.
Maine Breast Cancer Coalition is grateful to Hannaford Supermarkets for their support and to all the generous shoppers who make donations. These donations will make a difference in the lives of Maine residents in need.

Support Service Fund Update

The Maine Breast Cancer Coalition's Support Service Fund provides financial assistance for breast health or breast cancer related needs to qualified Maine residents. This includes temporary living expense support for people in breast cancer treatment. The Fund assists low-income, uninsured, or underinsured people, including those newly diagnosed with breast cancer, who don’t qualify for, or whose particular needs aren’t covered by other assistance programs.

Number of applications so far in 2016: 236, from all Maine counties
How can you help? The Support Service Fund is only partially supported by the Maine Specialty Breast Cancer License Plate Program, and also DHHS/Maine CDC Breast and Cervical Health Program contract funds supported by a Cooperative Agreement from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so we rely on contributions from individuals or local groups or businesses.
To make a donation to the Support Service Fund or find out about holding a fundraising event, visit
Maine Breast Cancer Coalition President to Attend San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium

Bethany Zell, President of the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition and Program Director of Pink Aroostook, a breast health program of Cary Medical Center in Caribou, has been selected to participate in the Patient Advocate Program, a component of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) established in 1998 by the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation (ABCF). The 19th Patient Advocate Program will be held in San Antonio, Texas this December.  

Zell is one of 40 Patient Advocates selected from around the world to receive a scholarship to attend the renowned program. The scholarships were awarded based on previous advocacy efforts and affiliation with a patient advocacy organization, as well as completion of the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s Project LEAD Institute, an intensive breast cancer scientific training that Zell completed last July in San Diego, California. Her roles as President of the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition and Program Director for Pink Aroostook will provide Zell with ample opportunity for sharing the knowledge that she will gain from the Patient Advocate Program.

In conjunction with the intense learning experience to be had at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium – scholarship recipients, as well as other patient advocates in attendance, are provided with an opportunity to interact with recognized breast cancer experts during ABCF’s three-day Hot Topics Mentor Sessions. The panel of experts at the Mentor Sessions report on the most intriguing, valuable and/or controversial research presented that day and then take questions from the audience.

Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation and the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund (NBCCF) co-sponsor the Project LEAD Advanced Topics held at SABCS.  This educational program, conducted by NBCCF, helps Project LEAD patient advocate graduates and scholarship recipients to update their knowledge on clinical science and helps prepare them for the sessions at the SABCS.  

ABCF also partners with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) to present an educational program for all patient advocates who attend the SABCS.  This special program is designed to help patient advocates better understand the basic science of breast cancer by holding a mini-science course including a short Year in Review.

“I am honored to have been selected as a scholarship recipient to the Patient Advocate Program at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium,” shared Zell. “I have wanted to attend the Symposium for a few years now, but between scheduling conflicts and cost of attending, it just hasn’t been possible. I am thankful for this opportunity and look forward to sharing what I learn with the people of Maine through my work with Pink Aroostook, the Maine and National Breast Cancer Coalitions.”

Free conference for patients, caregivers, or interested community members. Click here for a conference flyer.

Complimentary lunch will be provided.

For information and preregistration, contact Tami at 733-1090 ext. 2214 or

Please join us on Tuesday, October 18 at 6pm at the Par & Grill at 118 Bennett Drive in Caribou for a Cancer Votes Eat & Greet, an initiative of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. Cancer Votes is a non-partisan opportunity for local voters to interact with candidates for state and federal office and to find out where the candidates stand on legislative issues relating to cancer.

Lawmakers at every level of government play an enormous role in winning the fight against cancer.

Every year, Congress passes a budget that directly impacts people touched by cancer. The budget will:

~Increase or decrease funding for cancer research;
~Improve or impede cancer patients’ access to the treatment they need, and
~Bolster or hinder lifesaving programs that prevent cancer and detect it at its earliest, most treatable stages.

State legislatures play a critical role in funding and implementing programs that ensure cancer patients and survivors have access to the health care they need – before, during, and after cancer treatment. They also have the opportunity to pass strong tobacco control laws by providing adequate funding to the state tobacco quitline and evidence-based media campaigns that help smokers quit, as well as increasing tobacco taxes that prevent youth from starting to smoke.

More than half a million people in America will die from cancer this year alone. Even with all that we’ve learned about fighting cancer, one in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their life.

In Maine, more than 3,000 people will die from cancer this year. And, more than 9,000 will be diagnosed with cancer.

For more information, please contact Karin Howe at or 207.227.0307 or Bethany Zell at or 207.498.1361.

Help Drive Breast Cancer Out of Business!
Put a Maine Breast Cancer License Plate on your car or truck and help support breast cancer education, research, and patient care. All proceeds stay in Maine --- 100%.
The proceeds from the plate are split equally between three organizations: 

Maine Breast Cancer Coalition for our Support Service Fund 
Maine Cancer Foundation for their Women’s Cancer Fund
Maine Breast and Cervical Health Program for their Mammogram Fund

The plates can be purchased at any Bureau of Motor Vehicles location, at most town offices, or online at
October is upon us and the stores are well-stocked with pink ribbon branded items that you never even knew that you could get, but is that pink ribbon purchase REALLY helping out in the fight against breast cancer?  Our friends at Breast Cancer Action created Think Before You Pink®, a campaign to get people thinking before they purchase another pink ribbon item.  Here are suggestions from their Think Before You Pink® Toolkit.

Critical Questions to Ask Before You Buy Pink

1. Does any money from this purchase go to support breast cancer programs? How much?

Any company can put a pink ribbon on its products. The widely recognized pink ribbon symbol is not regulated by any agency and does not necessarily mean it effectively combats the breast cancer epidemic. Some products sport pink ribbons to try to communicate that they are “healthy” and don’t contribute to breast cancer, such as a number of natural health and beauty products. Other products have a pink ribbon in order to indicate that the company supports breast cancer programs even if the company’s contributions are not tied to the purchases of the specific product bearing the ribbon. Still other companies give a portion of an item’s cost to a breast cancer organization but may require further action on the part of the consumer for the donation to be realized. Can you tell how much money from your purchases will go to support breast cancer programs? If not, consider giving directly to the charity of your choice instead.

2. What organization will get the money? What will they do with the funds, and how do these programs turn the tide of the breast cancer epidemic?

Many companies that sell pink ribbon products and donate a percentage of each sale to breast cancer programs fail to indicate which of the many different breast cancer organizations will get the money. Furthermore, the consumer is left to trust that these organizations are engaged in work that is meaningful and makes the greatest difference. If money goes to “services,” are they reaching the people who need them most? How do screening programs ensure that women can get treatment? And how do breast cancer awareness programs address the fact that we already know that breast cancer is a problem and that action is needed in order to end the epidemic? Does the money go to truly addressing the root causes of the epidemic, like social inequities that lead to women of color and poor women dying more often of breast cancer, or environmental toxins that are contributing to high rates of breast cancer? Before donating, check the recipient organization’s website to make sure that its mission and activities are in line with your personal values. If you can’t tell, or you don’t know what the organization does, reconsider your purchase.

3. Is there a “cap” on the amount the company will donate? Has this maximum donation already been met? Can you tell?

Some companies that indicate that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of a particular pink ribbon product will go to support breast cancer programs put an arbitrary “cap” on their maximum donation. Once the maximum amount has been met, the company may continue to sell the product with the pink ribbon without alerting customers that no additional funds will be donated to breast cancer organizations. This means you may be buying a product for which none of your purchase price will go to a breast cancer cause but only to the bottom line of the company.

4. Does this purchase put you or someone you love at risk for exposure to toxins linked to breast cancer? What is the company doing to ensure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic?

Many companies have sold pink ribbon products that are linked to increased risk of breast cancer. We believe that companies that are profiting from building a reputation based on their concern about breast cancer have a responsibility to protect the public from possible harms when scientific research indicates that there is a risk or plausible reason for concern. Some of the earliest cause-marketing companies were well-known cosmetics companies that continue to sell cosmetics containing chemicals that have been linked to breast cancer. Even car companies have gotten in on the action and sell cars that emit toxic air pollutants in the name of breast cancer. In considering a pink ribbon purchase, does the product contain toxins or otherwise increase our risk of breast cancer?

If you have doubts about your pink ribbon purchase after reviewing these critical questions:

  1. Think before you spend your money on pink items. Find out the real story behind where the pink ribbon came from and learn more about cause marketing. Consider giving directly to a breast cancer organization whose work you believe is most essential to addressing the breast cancer epidemic.
  2. Write a letter asking the company to be transparent about its donations.
  3. Help a breast cancer patient directly by offering your time and resources to assist them in their breast cancer journey.
Move Beyond Awareness
This "Breast Cancer Awareness" Month

It will take more than awareness to bring an end to breast cancer!
Effective actions you can take:
Join the National Breast Cancer Coalition, and learn about Breast Cancer Deadline 2020, NBCC’s strategic plan to know how to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020. 

Learn more: Visit the NBCC Online Center For Advocacy Training
View videos of "the best of the presentations from the NBCC summits, workshops, and Project LEAD. Watch, learn, share, and use what you discover to disrupt the status quo for positive social change. Join us as we push ourselves to ask the tough questions, challenge scientists, tell the truth, lobby for research funding and access to care, and push for what will save lives."
Follow Breast Cancer Deadline 2020 on Twitter.
Working for a future without breast cancer: Join the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation's Army of Women and you can participate in research to eradicate breast cancer. The goal of the Army of Women is to recruit one million women of every age and ethnicity, including breast cancer survivors and women at high risk for the disease, to partner with breast cancer researchers and directly participate in the research that will eradicate breast cancer once and for all. Follow the Army of Women on Twitter.
How you Can Support MBCC's Work

Join Us!

Annual memberships are available at various levels for both individuals and businesses. Click here to join us online.

... or please consider a donation of any amount to the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition. You can donate online and make a secure donation using your credit card or PayPal account.

... or hold a fundraiser: If your community group, business, or organization would like to dedicate all or part of the proceeds from a fundraising effort to the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition, please visit our Fundraise page to find out more and to register your fundraiser. Download our Fundraiser Guide here. Or, you may contact us at 207-945-0008 or

The Maine Breast Cancer Coalition's Mission:

The Maine Breast Cancer Coalition is a volunteer-based, non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the health of Maine people through:

  • Financial support for underserved people with breast health or breast cancer needs
  • Advocacy for breast cancer research and legislation
  • Education to promote knowledge about breast cancer and quality care
Copyright © 2016 Maine Breast Cancer Coalition, All rights reserved.

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