Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Deadline 2020: Who Knew?

NBCC Call To Action
There's a challenge on the table for anyone - and everyone - who has ever been affected by breast cancer.
       The challenge is to end the disease by the year 2020.
       When I first heard of the campaign - launched by National Breast Cancer Coalition this past January -  my skepticism did an automatic override.  My immediate thought was that it was a bold fund-raising campaign.
        Still, I was curious and impressed with their conference program.  I applied for, and was granted a scholarship to attend, which covers both the registration fee and three-nights shared lodging in DC.
       Understanding the science, and the "who's doing what where" in breast cancer is imperative to 1) prevent and 2) completely stop metastatic activity in its tracks. Metastatic cancer, those cancers that relocate and take up residence in the brain, the lungs, the liver, or the bones is what kills close to 40,000 million women per year.
Patricia Steeg, PhD - NCI
         Yet, as Patricia Steeg, PhD, chief, women's cancers section at NCI, pointed out, the drugs used to treat women with metastatic cancer are those developed for primary breast cancer, not specifically for metastatic disease, which by its very nature is different. In another way, do we have chemo, biologic or hormonal therapy specifically developed to fight metastasized cancer cells?  Or drugs developed to see how much a drug will slow slow the progression of the disease?  That is a huge distinction.
           Into this milieu comes the goal of ending breast cancer by 2020.  Here comes my skepticism lurking in the corners.
           I never thought that Osama bin Laden would ever be found and killed, either. Even the grandest campaign, the best marketing, the combined passion of advocates, planners and researchers could not have spit out this event in the middle of the conference.
          While having a long conversation with Gayle Sulik, PhD, author of Pink Ribbon Blues, Sunday evening about "changing the conversation" about breast cancer, the news broke on CNN that after a ten-year hunt, the 9/11 mastermind had finally been hunted down and killed.
          In time we'll eventually hear the work that went into this raid. The planning. Rehearsals. The failures. Redirection. Training and work across agencies, specialties, and capabilities.  It was a multi-disciplined approach toward a unified cause: to stomp him out.
          It took ten years to track down Osama.  Ten years to end breast cancer?
          As I flew home last night, outlining the work ahead to communicate what I learned and what I think we need to do, what dawned on me finally was this:
          I'd grown complacent.  Not in believing that breast cancer(s) - there are many - could be cured, but   when or how.  Within complacency was another unsettling: how could I believe in finding cures for others if I didn't accept that my remission - my thirteen years of healthy survivorship, was real, too?
          This conference ferreted out the last of my own lingering fear.  I believe in my health and in so doing I've become a better advocate for the incredible women I met at the conference with cancer and all those I don't know for who are in treatment now.
          There was a seek and destroy mission out on Osama Bin Laden.   Stick around.  We're about to do the same for breast cancer.  How will you help?


CancerCultureChronicles said...

Sing it Sherpa Jody!

Debbie said...

Great post Jody! You have come out swinging...and are hitting it out of the park:)
Love, Deb

The Accidental Amazon said...


Right on, Roomie!

xxoo, Kathi

Anonymous said...

Thank you Jody. We need advocates like you.

Jody said...

Thanks, friends. All of us need to keep our eyes on these goals - eliminating, eradicating, extinguishing (and stomping the hell out of) cancer. I appreciate your comments and support more than you know.

Sherpas Packing for Women with Cancer!

Nancy's Point said...

Jody, Thanks for attending and getting so fired up!

Stacey said...

You did us proud, Jody!

dahlan epsoner said...

Thank you Jody. thanks for sharing such a useful information.

Dick Gordon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kim said...

Great post and thanks for bringing the 2020 Deadline to the forefront. I admit when I first heard about this, I was very skeptical too...but as I find myself healing and getting stronger...I find myself wanting to stand up and speak out!

Unknown said...

Again thank you very much for the article carry on the good work.