by Karuna Jaggar, Executive Director

Breast Cancer Action isn’t like any other breast cancer organization. For 30 years we’ve been the independent voice and rapid-response watchdog for the breast cancer resistance—thanks to fierce and committed supporters like you. 

As a geographer, I know that time and place matter. Breast Cancer Action was founded 30 years ago in San Francisco during two public health crises—the AIDS outbreak and the breast cancer epidemic—and that helped shape its mission and fuel its activism. Our early members apprenticed themselves to the AIDS group, ACT UP, and shared many of that group’s tactics, turning their anger into action. The two groups learned from each other and both pushed for better treatments, true prevention, and investment in public health.

Our founders saw their disease not as a personal tragedy, but as a larger social justice and public health crisis. They knew that individual changes in behavior weren’t the answer, and pushed for sweeping system change instead. Radical and compassionate, Breast Cancer Action has always been hard on systems and soft of people.  

With this newsletter, the first of three anniversary issues we’ll bring you this year, you’ll find out more about Breast Cancer Action’s founding, mission, and early years. We’re excited to bring you these highlights from our history. Join us in honoring some of the relentless, visionary activists who built Breast Cancer Action into the power house it is today. That is our founders’ legacy, and we’re proud to carry on their work—today and into the future. We can’t do it without you!