Maine Breast Cancer Coalition
Summer 2014 Newsletter
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MBCC Representatives Attend
Advocate Leadership Summit

by Bethany Zell, MBCC Volunteer
above, left to right: Laurel Bezanson, Bethany Zell, Nancy Greene
In May, two representatives of the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition attended the 2nd Annual National Breast Cancer Coalition Advocate Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. Laurel Bezanson of South Portland and Bethany Zell of Caribou spent four days in our nation’s capitol to learn more about the work of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, receive training on Breast Cancer Deadline 2020 and to lobby our state’s congressional leaders on behalf of the breast cancer advocacy agenda.
Breast cancer has been, and continues to be, a relentless killer. Worldwide, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women and the leading cause of cancer death among women. The incidence of the disease is increasing and, despite tweaks in treatment regimens over the years and a few real advances, there has not been a dramatic change in mortality. To renew the sense of urgency for its mission, and to refocus global efforts on ending breast cancer and saving lives, the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) has set a deadline: To end breast cancer by January 1, 2020. By the deadline, the NBCC will understand how to prevent people from getting breast cancer in the first place and how to prevent them from dying from the disease.

At the 2014 Advocate Leadership Summit, Bethany and Laurel were able to network with leaders in the world of breast cancer, like Dr. Susan Love, Dr. Thea Tlsdy of the University of California San Francisco, and Fran Visco, president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. They interacted with scientists and researchers from around the world and received advanced leadership training in mobilizing our grassroots efforts here in the state of Maine. Advocate leaders from other states shared what they were doing in their states to push their action plans forward. There was a specific focus on using social media and specifically, Twitter. A special Twitter training session was even conducted during the summit. 
Keynote speaker Andy Burnett, CEO of Knowinnovation, helped the advocate leaders develop personal and team building creative skills essential for leading grassroots mobilization activities. He challenged them to become “disruptive innovators” for Breast Cancer Deadline 2020.
On Lobby Day, held on Tuesday, May 6, Bethany, Laurel and a third attendee from Maine, Nancy Greene of Deer Isle, met with representatives from Maine to discuss the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act, funding for the Department of Defense peer-reviewed Breast Cancer Research Program and access to quality health care. All four of Maine’s Congressional leaders are signed on to the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act.

The Summit ended with a Congressional Reception honoring sponsors of the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act – Representative Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Senator Dean Heller (R-NV),Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Representative Kathy Castor (D-FL). 

For more information on how you can be involved in Breast Cancer Deadline 2020, click here.
Maine Women Have Options for the Prevention and Early Detection of Breast and Cervical Cancer

Since 1995, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)/ Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC)’s Breast and Cervical Health Program (MBCHP) has provided free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to qualifying women age 40 to 65. Women age 35-39 in need of follow-up tests related to a possible breast or cervical cancer, or who have not had a Pap test in five or more years, may qualify as well.

For qualifying members, the MBCHP links each woman with a provider site in their area for a free office visit to receive a pelvic exam, Pap test, and clinical breast exam. After the visit, the women will be referred for a free mammogram. If the screening tests identify an abnormality, the provider will refer the client for appropriate follow-up testing, also covered by the program.

Women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer may be eligible for full MaineCare benefits through the Maine Treatment Act. This DHHS MaineCare (Medicaid) Program may be able to provide coverage to women who have no credible health insurance, meet MBCHP qualifying guidelines and need treatment for breast or cervical cancer or a pre-cancerous condition.

Women interested in receiving free breast and cervical cancer screening services, or who have a breast or cervical cancer treatment question, should call the Maine CDC Breast and Cervical Program at 1-800-350-5180, press 1.  

To read more about MBCHP eligibility, visit
To learn more about the prevention and early detection of breast, cervical and colorectal cancers, visit

Save the Dates!
The Susan G. Komen Maine Race for the Cure® 2014

Please join the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition Conquerors race team at the Bangor Race!  Register for our team or sponsor us with a donation at the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition Conquerors team page.

Visit us at our display booth!  Can’t make the Bangor Race? As a Susan G. Komen® Maine grantee, MBCC will have a booth at both the Portland and Bangor Races. Drop by at our booth any time after 8:00 a.m. and before the race to meet some of our volunteers and try some pink hairspray!

Help spread the word!  Forward this newsletter to family and friends.

Did you know?

  • For thirteen consecutive years, Komen Maine has awarded major grants to the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition's Support Service Fund, including a $20,000 grant this year.
  • 75% of funds raised stay in Maine to support critical local programs.
  • The remaining 25% funds important breast cancer research nationally.

Portland Race

Sunday, September 14 Payson Park

7:30 – 9:30 a.m. Registration

9:00 Survivors’ Ceremony

9:45 1K Fun Run/Walk starts

10:00 5K Run/Walk starts

Bangor Race

Sunday, September 21 Bangor Waterfront

7:30 – 9:30 a.m. Registration

9:00 Survivors’ Ceremony

10:00 5K Run/Walk starts

10:15 1K
Fun Run/Walk starts

      Meet the Volunteer

"The financial assistance given to Maine women and men by MBCC makes such a difference, and it is hard not to want to be a part of this."

Cathi Cyr,
MBCC Secretary

Maine Breast Cancer Coalition is a volunteer-based organization. With the exception of one volunteer who is also a part-time Support Service Fund program assistant primarily funded by a Susan G. Komen Maine® grant, we are all volunteers.

Cathi Cyr has been been volunteering with our organization for two years. She is the Secretary for Maine Breast Cancer Coalition and also takes part in a wide range of other volunteer work for MBCC.

Describe how you got started with MBCC.
"I joined the Greater Bangor Women’s Snow and Skiboard Club. In addition to being a group that has fun together at Sugarloaf, one of our major purposes is to raise money for the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition. The night I joined the Ski Club, a member of MBCC was present to tell us all a bit about their organization. She read some anonymous letters from people who had received assistance from MBCC; this nearly moved me to tears. I was so impressed with the work MBCC did that I contacted them a few days later to see how to become an active volunteer."

Why do you choose to volunteer your time with this organization?
"I am a breast cancer survivor. I was very lucky to have good health insurance and adequate financial resources throughout my treatment. I cannot imagine the extra stress I would have felt if I had not. The financial assistance given to Maine women and men by MBCC makes such a difference, and it is hard not to want to be a part of this."

What tasks do you typically do for MBCC?
"As Secretary, I am responsible for all meeting records and many correspondences. I also chair the membership committee, and have worked on several projects recently including updating our by-laws and reviewing our mission statement. As a member of the Greater Bangor Women’s Ski and Snowboard Club, I am their volunteer Fund Raising Coordinator, which involves organizing events to raise money for MBCC nearly year-round."

What do you like to do in your spare time?
"In the winter, I like to ski. Downhill and cross country are both fun! I love to have a vegetable garden in the summer, which keeps me busy."

Tell about an unusual or surprising fact about yourself.
"This is a hard question for me. I have thought about it some and decided I don’t really think there is anything others would find unusual or surprising about me. I do surprise myself at times with the things I do that I thought I could not, but we all do that! I have a great life and am thankful for it!"

For information about becoming a Maine Breast Cancer Coalition volunteer, contact us at: 
or 1-800-928-2644
Research News from the Silent Spring Institute
Press release by the Silent Spring Institute (

Vehicle exhaust, gasoline fumes, flame retardants, stain-resistant textiles, paint removers, disinfectants. For two decades now, Silent Spring Institute scientists have studied—and raised awareness of—our exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.

The institute’s latest study identified 17 types of chemicals that should be top targets for breast cancer prevention. The study—which garnered attention from a range of national media, including Time and NPR’s Living on Earth—also provided a roadmap for measuring the presence of these chemicals in women’s bodies.

New study identifies priority breast carcinogens
and biomonitoring methods

Every woman in America has been exposed to chemicals that are linked to breast cancer. Yet little is being done to tackle this problem. And only a small fraction of the suspect chemicals have ever been tested in people.

The Silent Spring Institute conducted a study to change this that has been published in a National Institutes of Health (NIH) journal, Environmental Health Perspectives.

We identified 17 types of chemicals that should be top targets for breast cancer prevention. These include chemicals in gasoline, diesel and other vehicle exhaust, flame retardants, stain-resistant textiles, paint removers, and disinfection byproducts in drinking water.

The study also provides a roadmap for how to best measure the presence of these chemicals in women’s bodies. NIH will incorporate the study’s recommendations as it prepares to test samples from around 50,000 women in its closely watched Sister Study to evaluate causes of breast cancer.

The study also demonstrates that when chemicals are shown to cause mammary cancer in rats, studies often confirm those same chemicals are associated with breast cancer in women.

Women can reduce exposure to potential breast carcinogens by:

  • limiting exposure to fuel and exhaust
  • avoiding second-hand tobacco smoke
  • not purchasing stain-resistant items
  • buying furniture without polyurethane foam or asking for foam not treated with flame retardants

Read more tips here.

The Silent Spring Institute is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to identifying the links between the environment and women’s health, especially breast cancer.

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.

The numbers of Maine residents in need continues to be great. We have had a flood of 207 applications just since January 1 of this year!

We often receive letters and cards from people we have helped. The letter on the right is published with the writer's permission.


How can you help? The Support Service Fund is only partially supported by major grants and the Maine Specialty Breast Cancer License Plate Program, 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, click here.

"I am writing this letter to voice my gratitude to Maine Breast Cancer Coalition. I had reached out to them in a moment of need and despair. From the first call to MBCC, I was given full support, kindness and compassion.

One morning upon awakening, I felt a lump in one of my breasts. It made me think: “No it can’t be”. All kinds of thoughts started racing through my head. I had no medical insurance and no one to turn to for help. I tried ignoring the knot for a day or two, but deep inside my head, I knew it needed to be checked out. The cost of the ultrasound and mammogram pledged to be $800-$1,000, funds I did not possess. At the same time, I was fearful to face the outcomes.

I was told about MBCC at the hospital: “Call them, they can help”, said a lady at the front desk." I spoke on the phone with Rosemarie, who not only took away all my financial worries, but also found all kinds of kind and encouraging worlds for me that gave me strength and lessened my anxiety. She was with me every step of the way, through every bump on the road, guiding, supporting and comforting.

I cannot thank MBCC enough for their assistance and patronage. MBCC is a big help, the only help, for women in difficult situations, uninsured or underinsured. Thank you, MBCC, for everything that you do: support, advocacy for research, and awareness.

Susan G. Komen® Maine Awards Major Grant to
Support Service Fund

The Maine Breast Cancer Coalition is pleased to announce we have been awarded a major grant of $19,999 by Susan G. Komen® Maine for our Support Service Fund. This grant will significantly help us reach our $200,964 budget goal and will help us to provide a high level of assistance to a projected 350 Support Service Fund qualified applicants this year.

Our Komen Maine grant is especially important because it covers most of our administrative costs. This allows for a greater percentage of other donations to the Support Service Fund to go directly to applicants in need. Maine Breast Cancer Coalition is grateful to Susan G. Komen® Maine for supporting our work with major grants for thirteen consecutive years.

Komen Maine also supports many other important programs in the state. To find out more about Komen Maine, visit A list of all current Komen Maine Affiliate grantees can be found on their site at

Photo, l. to r.: Carol Beagan, MBCC Treasurer and Support Service Fund Committee member; Sally Bilancia, Komen Maine Executive Director; Christine Haiss, MBCC Support Service Fund Grants Chair
Clinical Trial Enrolling Eligible Women in Study for Patients With Hormone Receptor-Positive Advanced Breast Cancer
Auburn, Maine
Maine Research Associates in Auburn is enrolling eligible women in FALCON, a Phase III study which will involve approximately 600 postmenopausal patients with hormone receptor-positive locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer who have not previously been treated with any hormonal therapy.

The study, taking place at Maine Research Associates, is part of a global clinical trial through MedImmune Specialty Care Division of AstraZeneca.

Maine Research Associates, along with more than 100 other global clinical trial sites, are enrolling patients that are eligible to participate based on the following requirements:
· Female
· Postmenopausal
· Have hormone receptor-positive locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer
· Have not received prior hormonal therapy

For more information about the trial (NCT01602380), please contact 207-782-9835 at Maine Research Associates.


Attention Businesses:
Consignment Sales of 
the Pink Album

Revenue from Pink Album sales goes to our Support Service Fund and directly benefits Maine residents with unmet breast cancer or breast health needs. 

If your business would like to help by selling the Pink Album on consignment, please contact us at 1-800-928-2644 or Salons, Maine-based products stores, gift shops and coffee shops are examples of perfect venues for Pink Album consignment sales. 
Do You Have Your 
Maine Breast Cancer Specialty License Plate Yet?

There are now more than 16,000 of these plates on the road! Join these fellow-Mainers in helping to support breast cancer education, research, and patient support here in Maine.

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 are available from Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch offices and most town offices, or at
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 see the "or you can hold a fundraising event or initiative" section of our Donate page to register your fundraiser. Download our Fundraiser Guide here. Or, you may contact us at 1-800-928-2644 or
We would like to express our appreciation to the following individuals, groups, organizations, or businesses that held or supported recent fundraising events to benefit MBCC:
Damariscotta Lake Farm Restaurant
Fraternal Order of Eagles, New Gloucester
Fraternal Order of Eagles, Brewer

"Girls' Night Out", Bethany Zell
"Give Breast Cancer The Boot" country dance,    Ray and Sue Hall
Hannaford Supermarkets
Hebron Academy
PATCO Construction
Whale's Rib Tavern at Pilgrim's Inn
Wassamki Springs Campground


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 © 2014 Maine Breast Cancer Coalition, All rights reserved.

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