Maine Breast Cancer Coalition
Summer 2016 Newsletter
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 H.R. 1197, the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act, was introduced by Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL-14) and Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC-2) on March 6, 2015. Today the bipartisan bill has over 265 cosponsors, including more than 60% of the members on the Energy & Commerce Committee- which is the sole committee of jurisdiction. The bill does not require additional federal funding; rather it focuses on leveraging existing research and technologies to help end breast cancer.

The bill focuses on identifying strategies for the primary prevention of breast cancer, and preventing metastasis which is responsible for over 90% of breast cancer deaths. It would create a 10 person commission which would include representatives of: biomedical research, business, breast cancer advocacy, and other disciplines, who have demonstrated an ability to be innovative. The commissioners would be tasked with identifying existing opportunities, tools, technologies and ideas that are not currently being prioritized for breast cancer by the public and private sectors- but which hold true promise in ending breast cancer.

Please join our voices in contacting our US Representatives and ask them to help us get H.R. 1197 brought to the floor for a vote!
Looking to Relay for Life?

Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.
The American Cancer Society Relay For Life event is a life-changing experience that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to Celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, Remember loved ones lost, and Fight Back against the disease. Each year, more than 4 million people in over 20 countries take part in this global phenomenon and raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer.

Some of our Maine Breast Cancer Coalition volunteers participate regularly in their local Relay for Life events and you can, too!  Here is a comprehensive listing of the remaining Relay for Life Events scheduled for 2016 in Maine:

Relay For Life of Hancock - Bucksport, ME

Bucksport High School - June 3, 2016

Relay For Life of Sebago Lakes Region - Standish, ME

Saint Joseph's College - June 4, 2016

Relay For Life of Somerset - Skowhegan, ME

Skowhegan Fair Association - June 11, 2016

Relay For Life of Winthrop High School - Winthrop, ME

Winthrop High School - June 17, 2016

Relay For Life of Penobscot - Old Town, ME

Old Town High School - June 17, 2016

Relay For Life of Aroostook - Caribou, ME

Caribou High School - June 17, 2016

Relay For Life of Greater Augusta - Windsor, ME

Windsor Fair Grounds - June 18, 2016

Relay For Life of Greater Portland - South Portland, ME

South Portland High School - June 18, 2016

Relay For Life of Oxford Hills - Oxford, ME

Oxford Fairgrounds - June 18, 2016

Relay For Life of Katahdin - Millinocket, ME

Stearns High School - June 18, 2016

Relay For Life of York County - Wells, ME

Wells High School Track - June 25, 2016

Bark For Life of Greater Bangor - Bangor, ME

Hollywood Casino Raceway - June 25, 2016

Relay For Life of MidCoast - Rockport, ME

Camden Hills High School - June 25, 2016

Relay For Life of Washington - Calais, ME

Triangle Park - June 25, 2016

Bark For Life of Brunswick - Brunswick, ME

Brunswick Town Mall - September 17, 2016

Bark For Life of York County - Wells, ME

Wells Harbor Community Park - October 2, 2016

Relay For Life of Maine Maritime Academy - Castine, ME

Maine Maritime Academy - October 22, 2016


Specialty License Plate Program Benefits Support Service Fund

License Plate
Do you have your Maine Breast Cancer Specialty license plate yet? The proceeds from this specialty plate help support breast cancer education, research, and patient support here in Maine.The proceeds are split equally between three beneficiaries: the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition for our Support Service Fund; the Maine Cancer Foundation for their Women's Cancer Fund; Maine Breast and Cervical Health Program for their mammogram fund.

The plates are available from BMV branch offices and most town offices. For more information go to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles Specialty Plate page path or call the Registration Unit at 207-624-9000, Extension 52149.

More than 2 ½ million women
in the United States have
a history of breast cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, on December 1, 2013, in the United States there were approximately 2,829,041 women alive who have received a diagnosis of breast cancer. Excluding skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in the US.

It is estimated that 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer (cancer that has spread from where it started in the breast into surrounding, healthy tissue) will be diagnosed among women in the US in 2016. In addition to invasive cancers, 57,650 new cases of in situ breast cancer will be diagnosed; approximately 49,003 of which will be ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).


...activists, survivors, researchers, policy makers, academics,
industry stakeholders, grassroots fundraisers, and local and national organizations
coming together as disruptive innovators for social change...
to discuss the end of breast cancer.

Maine Breast Cancer Coalition volunteers visit with staff from Senator Angus King's office in Washington, DC on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 during the National Breast Cancer Coalition's annual Lobby Day event as part of the 2016 advocate Leadership Summit. From left to right: Patrick O'Neil, Legislative Aide to Senator Angus King; Laurel Bezanson of South Portland; Nancy Greene of Sunset; Rosemarie LeGasse of Bangor; Carol Beagan of Bangor; Lieutenant Commander Dennis Wischmeier, Defense Fellow with Senator Angus King

"The Complexities of Metastatic Breast Cancer Research"
Rosemarie LeGasse
Support Service Fund Assistant & Volunteer with the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition

I attended the 2016 National Breast Cancer Coalition Advocate Leadership Summit in Arlington, VA to learn more about the current trends in breast cancer and breast cancer research and to know more about what the top researchers are doing relative to Breast Cancer Deadline 2020.  I attended a seminar entitled, “Complexities of Metastatic Breast Cancer Research” with Patricia Steeg, Ph.D, Deputy Chief, Women’s Malignancies Branch, Center for Cancer Research, NCI as the main speaker.  She is credited with discovering the first metastasis suppressor gene, Nm23. Nm23 and other metastasis suppressors prevent the formation of metastases, with no effect on primary tumor size.  Dr. Steeg discussed factors that make her research difficult, like the nature of the biologic specimens or our limited knowledge of the biology.  She stated that although we don’t know how to cure metastatic breast cancer, even after decades of research, we now know that tumor dormancy plays a role in developing metastasis, and that a breast cancer vaccine is a major focus in prevention of breast cancer.   It is also thought that dormant cells can evade chemo, and that the immune system cannot see those cells. Dr. Steeg identified one research issue as lack of easily available specimens for a study.  Related to this need, the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project (MBCP) approaches cancer research by partnering directly with patients.  The patients share their samples and clinical information in the hopes of speeding up needed discoveries.  The project is funded by the Broad Institute and Harvard.  The mission is to dramatically accelerate our understanding and treatment of disease.  Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School also collaborate with the project.  According to another speaker, Dr. Corrie Painter, of the Cancer Research Institute, the project is trying to leverage social media to learn more about metastatic breast cancer. 

Some questions that still require answers include:
*What are the genes and mutations that can lead to metastatic breast cancer?
*What explains why some patients show extraordinary response to a particular treatment?
*What explains why some tumors never respond? 

MBCP is working to create a large, patient-driven, data center to share with researchers. Patients enroll in the project online and receive a packet containing a saliva test kit.  Over 1,800 people are taking part to date.  Those interested in becoming involved in this means of contributing and assisting researchers to know more about metastatic breast cancer can go to the website  By joining MBCP as a person with metastatic breast cancer, you can directly assist in the research process by helping researchers like Dr. Pat Steeg speed up the discovery of answers needed to prevent metastatic breast cancer.

"Highlights from the 2016 National Breast Cancer Coalition Advocate Leadership Summit"
Nancy Greene
Volunteer with the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition

The subjects of the plenaries at the 2016 National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) Advocate Leadership Summit included what makes social movements endure—with an emphasis on successes NBCC learned from the women’s health movement; an update on NBCC’s Artemis Project, which brings together diverse disciplines and schools of thought for unique collaborations that avoid main stream scientific thinking—with the object, naturally, of finding ways to prevent breast cancer and end metastases; the immune system and how to make tumors apparent to T-cells so they attack them rather than not reacting to them at all; an update on what we know about preventing metastatic breast cancer; and a discussion of how breast cancer is not a “health” issue but a “political” one. Fran Visco, President of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, spoke about disrupting the status quo, wanting success in accomplishing the Breast Cancer Deadline 2020 and reminding us all that our work is for the next generations.

"DNA Land" was a new presentation this year.  The object of this program is sharing data, collecting large amounts of information, and sequencing genomes for the sake of recognizing patterns and prediction.  DNA Land since October already has 20,000 digitized genomes and ideally wants to sequence everyone’s!  We were told a contract had just been signed to regularly provide NBCC all the data DNA Land collects.  NBCC can go to vetted researchers with this data and study, for example, the genetics of relapse and understand other associations that previously were learned from projective studies which take many years to complete or retrospective studies which are not particularly reliable.  You can find out more on their website at  I found this very exciting and think we should all provide them with our DNA.  

Many of us who are new to technology went to a workshop on social media.  We learned that if members of congress get 30 Tweets on a subject, they take heed! That was all the motivation I needed, and I am proud to say that I have been Tweeting and using Facebook and LinkedIn since returning home from the Summit.  Why explain something to just one person when you can make your point to a larger community… including your members of congress?
This year, Congress was in recess, meaning no Senators or Representatives were in town, so on Lobby Day, we met with their staff members.  We wanted support for S746 and HR1197, the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act, which provides a 10 person Presidential Commission comprised of representatives of biomedical research, business, breast cancer advocacy, and other related and unrelated disciplines who have demonstrated the ability to be innovative, and a Senator or Representative.  It provides 3 years of modest funding for the Committee; its term is until 2020.  All of Maine’s Senators and Representatives currently support it.  We also asked for support for the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Breast Cancer Research Program and we currently have 75% of Maine's Congressional Leaders supporting it.  This DOD research is transparent (available to other breast cancer researchers), not duplicative of other breast cancer research, uses breast cancer consumers on peer review panels (I have twice sat on panels), and to be approved, research grants must meet 10 “overarching” challenges, among them, preventing breast cancer and preventing metastases.  Research done with DOD grants has provided many breakthroughs.  
Seeing old NBCC friends - and in some cases learning some have died from breast cancer - is moving.  It is exhilarating to see the dedicated, competent women and some men across the country who work on mutual goals as a part of this huge network of grassroots breast cancer organizations across the country.  I would not willingly miss the NBCC Summit, and I urge anyone who has played with the idea of coming to actually do it!  Your desire to advocate and help will be energized.  You will be glad you did.

Do You Have Metastatic Breast Cancer?

The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation just launched the opening survey for the Metastatic Breast Cancer Collateral Damage Project. If you have metastatic breast cancer, you can play a role in improving quality of life for people with this disease by taking 15 minutes to complete a five-question survey.

The survey is a critical first step in documenting the full extent of collateral damage caused by the disease or its treatment. The long-term goal is to develop a set of recommendations that will improve the quality of life for people living with metastatic breast cancer.


Support Maine Breast Cancer Coalition by Shopping at AmazonSmile

  AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition every time you shop, at no cost to you.

How does it work?
When you shop at, you’ll find the same shopping experience as, with the added bonus that the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases.

How do I select Maine Breast Cancer Coalition to support when shopping on AmazonSmile?

I already have an Amazon account. Do I need to open a new account?
No. If you already have an account, you will use the same account on AmazonSmile.

Show your support and join us in our efforts!

Annual memberships supply critical funding for our volunteer-based non-profit organization’s general operating costs and make it possible for us to continue our important work. Annual memberships are available at various levels for both individuals and businesses. Click the JOIN US button above for more information or to register for membership.
... or please consider a donation of any amount to the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition. You can make a secure donation using your credit card or PayPal account by clicking on the DONATE button above.

... 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, click the FUNDRAISE button above or download our Fundraiser Guide HERE for additional information

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:

  • Service through financial support for underserved people with breast health or breast cancer needs. Click here for information or to download a Support Service Fund Application.
  • Advocacy for breast cancer research and legislation
  • Education to promote knowledge about breast cancer and quality care. Click here for breast cancer or breast health resources.
Copyright © 2016 Maine Breast Cancer Coalition, All rights reserved.

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