Answers Wanted

by Katrina Kahl

In October 2006, BCA launched Answers Wanted, a new public education campaign focusing on crucial questions about breast cancer that, despite more than 20 years of breast cancer awareness, remain unanswered. In its first year, the multiyear campaign will address the need to know which breast cancers will metastasize and become life threatening and which will not.

BCA conducted a national poll to find out what people know about breast cancer diagnosis. Women and men across the United States were asked to respond “true” or “false” to the following statements:

  1. Breast cancer that stays restricted to your breast won’t be fatal.
  2. At the time of diagnosis, a doctor can determine with certainty whether or not your breast cancer will be life threatening.
  3. All forms of breast cancer require surgery plus chemotherapy or radiation.
  4. Some women receive more treatment than is necessary to treat their breast cancer.

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The poll revealed that people are still confused about some of the basic facts about breast cancer. But they know one thing for sure: Their doctors, unfortunately, aren’t able to definitively answer a woman’s most basic questions upon diagnosis: “Will I die from this?” and “What should I do
next?” To see the full results of this poll and test your own knowledge using our online quiz, visitwww.bcaction.org/AnswersWanted.

Moving beyond awareness, BCA encourages people who care about this disease to get informed by taking our online quiz, spreading the word to their friends, and demanding that Congress prioritize a plan for future breast cancer research that will give doctors the tools they need to determine upon diagnosis if breast cancer will spread. The unknown of whether a woman’s breast cancer will spread leads to overtreating some patients, despite the grueling physical, emotional, and financial toll on them. Only more focused research will allow doctors to determine whether breast cancer will spread, whether it will become life threatening, and what the best course of treatment is for each woman. We need and deserve these answers.

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