WASHINGTON--At its most recent meeting, the National Cancer Advisory
Board (NCAB) heard a report on the activities and accomplishments
of the National Action Plan on Breast Cancer (NAPBC), as well
as reports from two groups concerned about cancer research funding
and grant applications.
Frances Visco, JD, president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition
and a member of the President's Cancer Panel, described the NAPBC
as "a consumer-driven plan to bring together people from
federal and state government, the pharmaceutical industry, academic
medicine, and survivors of breast cancer to decrease the incidence
of and death rate from breast cancer."
Priorities include identifying strategies to disseminate information
about breast cancer via the information superhighway, ensuring
consumer input in the development of public health programs, expanding
the scope of biomedical and behavioral research related to breast
cancer etiology, making clinical trials more widely available,
and implementing a comprehensive plan to address the needs of
people carrying breast cancer susceptibility genes.
Susan Blumenthal, MD, MPA, deputy assistant secretary for women's
health, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said that
the federal government has stepped up its activities in breast
cancer; for example, the Food and Drug Administration has established
standards for mammography quality, and the Department of Defense
has awarded 430 breast cancer research grants, for a total of
She said that HHS priorities include establishing more programs
for minority and poor women, increasing clinical research, establishing
more advocacy groups, and promoting education and dissemination
of information about breast cancer.
A Warning About Downsizing
Edward Bresnick, MD, vice chancellor for research, University
of Massachusetts Medical Center, and president of the American
Association for Cancer Research (AACR), told the board that the
AACR's major goal is to "further cancer research through
communication, publications, and meetings."