Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Vitamin D Linked to Longer Breast Cancer Survival

Posted By on December 2nd, 2016 at 7:38 am | 0 comments.

vitamin-d-photo-2-with-ribbonResearchers say breast cancer patients with higher levels of Vitamin D have higher survival rates, especially premenopausal women. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Oncology, used date from more than 1,500 hundred survivors over the course of 7 years. During that time, women with vitamin D levels over 25 nanograms had a 28 percent higher likelihood of surviving when compared to women with levels under 17 nanograms.

Scientists say higher vitamin D levels had an even stronger impact on premenopausal women. The study considered many factors including the tumor stage, grade and type.

The Institute of Medicine recommends 600 units of vitamin D daily for people under 70 and 800 for people over 70.

To read the entire New York Times article on the study, click here.

PA Breast Cancer Coalition: Shift in Mammography Screening Guidelines Confusing to Women

Posted By on October 20th, 2015 at 5:59 pm | 0 comments.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) today released new, weakened breast cancer screening guidelines, changing the recommended age for women to begin yearly mammograms to age 45 and every two years after age 55. Previously, the guidelines suggested annual mammograms beginning at age 40 for average risk women.

American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Guidelines – published 10/20/15 

  • Women with an average risk of breast cancer – most women – should begin yearly mammograms at age 45.
  • Women should be able to start the screening as early as age 40, if they want to. It’s a good idea to start talking to your health care provider.
  • At age 55, women should have mammograms every other year – though women who want to keep having yearly mammograms should be able to do so.
  • Regular mammograms should continue as long as a woman is in good health.
  • Breast exams, either from a medical provider or self-exams, are no longer recommended.

The American Cancer Society bases its shift in suggested age and frequency on the occurrence of false positives/false alarms. The PA Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC) cautions women in Pennsylvania on these latest, more confusing guidelines.

“This is a step in the wrong direction,” said PA Breast Cancer Coalition President and Founder Pat Halpin-Murphy. “Most women we speak with would prefer to have a second mammogram or an ultrasound rather than to find cancer at a later, less treatable stage. The advent of 3D mammograms will alleviate much of the ACS’s concern over false positives since 3D mammograms reduce false alarms by 27 percent and increase early detection by 20 percent. The PBCC continues to recommend mammograms for women beginning at age 40 for the average woman until a more perfect test is developed.”

Pennsylvania law requires insurers to cover the cost of all mammograms once a year for women beginning at age 40. Governor Tom Wolf, First Lady Frances Wolf and the PBCC announced earlier this month that 3D mammograms are covered under the same law for women insured in Pennsylvania effective immediately.

About the PA Breast Cancer Coalition

The PBCC represents, supports and serves breast cancer survivors and their families in Pennsylvania through educational programming, legislative advocacy and breast cancer research grants.  The PBCC is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure now…so our daughters won’t have to.  For more information, please call 800-377-8828 or visit


March 3 is Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Day

Posted By on February 25th, 2015 at 3:16 pm | 1083 comments.

woman-with-doctorMarch 3 is Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Day. Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a very aggressive form of the disease which makes up for 15 to 20 percent of all breast cancer cases. Pennsylvania researchers, like Refunds for Research grant winners Dr. Mauricio Reginato of Drexel University College of Medicine, Dr. Yanming Wang of Penn State University and Dr. Sandra Fernandez of Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals are just a few of the scientists in Pennsylvania working every day to find out what causes triple-negative breast cancer and what we need to cure it.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida will be conducting clinical trials on a vaccine they believe could prevent triple-negative breast cancer from coming back after a patient has been treated.

Here is the complete text from a recent USA Today article on the topic:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A major breakthrough could be coming for patients who suffer from a particularly aggressive type of breast cancer commonly referred to as “triple negative.”

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville are planning to do clinical trials for a vaccine that would hopefully prevent the disease from coming back after a patient has been treated.

“Can we do something else to essentially wake up the immune system so that the patient’s own body fights any cancer cells remaining after standard chemotherapy treatment?” asked Dr. Edith Perez, lead researcher on the project at Mayo Clinic.

Triple-negative breast cancer, or TNBC, strikes 15 percent to 20 percent of breast cancer patients. Unlike most forms of breast cancer, it’s not fueled by estrogen and cannot be treated with estrogen blockers like Tamoxifen. Right now, the only treatment is chemotherapy and the disease, even when treated, is likely to come back and spread.

TNBC typically strikes younger patients than most other forms of breast cancer. It often occurs in women under 50. African-American and Hispanic women are also more likely to develop it as are women who have the BRCA1 gene mutations.

Donna Deegan, a WTLV- and WJXX-TV news anchor, is a three-time breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with the cancer at age 38.

“For women with triple negative breast cancer, if this works, it could be a game changer,” Deegan said.

Perez said that in the past, she was not optimistic about the chances for success of a breast cancer vaccine. However, that has now changed.

“Over the last year we spent quite a bit of time evaluating a protein that is called the folate receptor alpha protein. We studied it in a variety of tumor types here in the laboratory at Mayo and we identified that in approximately 80% of the cases of triple negative breast cancer, this protein was over-expressed.” said Dr. Perez. “Patients who will be eligible are those patients with resected or removed triple negative breast cancer whose tumors express this protein.”

Perez is one of the top breast cancer researchers in the world. She teamed with immunologist Dr. Keith Knutson to develop the vaccine. Knutson’s research has worked on treatments for both ovarian and breast cancer. Patients who are part of the trial will be treated over a six-month period.

Funding for this research comes from several sources, including money raised by a local marathon. Perez said it will take about $10 million to complete the vaccine clinical trial.

“I tell you, the marathon has been instrumental to all of this work we have done over the years because we didn’t have a genomics program here at Mayo Clinic before the marathon started. So we used the funds to start the program,” Perez said.

The PBCC is hiring a Full-time Fundraising Coordinator

Posted By on December 23rd, 2013 at 2:44 pm | 168 comments.

Full-time Fundraising Coordinator Needed!

The PA Breast Cancer Coalition is seeking a highly motivated, experienced fundraiser with excellent development and proven money raising skills to work full-time in the Lebanon, PA office.

 This position provides an opportunity for an exciting, challenging and rewarding career.  This person is responsible for the overall fundraising efforts of the organization.  He/she will have the ability to organize and manage multiple fundraising projects under deadlines and interact well with all levels of staff, board and volunteers.

Duties include, but are not limited to:


  • – identify, cultivate and solicit new corporate donors
  • – identify, cultivate and solicit new major donor prospects
  • – research, apply to and submit full grant proposals to corporate, pharmaceutical and foundation funders
  • – develop and maintain relationships with large donors and foundations
  • – coordinate Conference and Home Run derby sponsorships
  • – create and execute the annual appeal and other fundraising appeals
  • – create a planned giving program


  • – Bachelor’s degree
  • – Three or more years of professional fundraising or related experience
  • – A demonstrated ability and proven track record in major and corporate gifts along with the proven record of raising money from corporations and grant makers
  • – Previous corporate, pharmaceutical and/or foundation grant writing experience
  • – Highly organized with the ability to multi-task and work productively in a team setting
  • – Willingness to travel within PA and attend occasional evening and weekend events
  • – Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • – Comfort using Microsoft Office suite


 Salary Range

This is a full-time, 40 hour per week position, offering a comprehensive benefits package and a competitive non-profit salary. Salary is dependent on education and experience.


Please submit the following to with “Fundraising Coordinator” in the subject line.

  • – Cover letter with information on previous fundraising successes
  • – Resume
  • – Required salary range

No phone calls please.  The PA Breast Cancer Coalition is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


This position is funded through October 31, 2015 with an excellent possibility of re-funding.


 The PA Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC) represents, supports and serves breast cancer survivors and their families in Pennsylvania through educational programming, legislative advocacy and breast cancer research grants. The PBCC is a statewide organization with a board of directors and a network of volunteers across the state. The PBCC exists to help the 9,500 women in this state who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, to support the families of the 2,200 women who will die from it and to serve as a resource for the hundreds of thousands more women currently living with the disease.

Survivor Shares Breast Cancer Journey, Advocates for Dense Breast Legislation

Posted By on November 15th, 2013 at 8:38 am | 1741 comments.

T Gillen HeadshotTerry Gillen, Philadelphia

One day in April 2010, I happened to raise my arm and I felt a bit of a lump on my breast. I had had a mammogram about six months earlier but nothing showed on the mammogram. There could be a million reasons why the mammogram didn’t detect it, but my understanding is that I have dense breast tissue. I started reading online stories written by women who had similar experiences. Some of them had really advanced stage breast cancer at the time they were diagnosed and it was just devastating. Many of those women believe that if they had been informed that their breasts were dense, they might have had additional testing and may have been diagnosed at an earlier stage. I was so moved by their stories that I felt compelled to reach out to Pat Halpin-Murphy and the PBCC. I knew she was a strong advocate for breast cancer and that she and the organization knew how to get things done.

The good news for me was that the cancer was caught early. I had a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation and I have a good prognosis.

I work as Director of Foreign Affairs in Philadelphia Mayor Nutter’s office. For relaxation I like to play tennis, swim, and I love to read. I recently bought a piano and I have started taking piano lessons.

“The Dense Breast Notification Act will give women important information that will help them understand this risk factor for cancer.”

Lace Up! Walking May Lower Breast Cancer Risk

Posted By on November 15th, 2013 at 8:37 am | 1950 comments.

women walkingA recent study performed by the Epidemiology Research Program at the American Cancer Society found that postmenopausal women who walked at least seven hours per week, usually about an hour a day, had a 14% less risk of developing breast cancer than those who walked fewer than three hours per week.

The study also found that women who were most active, meaning they sweat vigorously for up to ten hours per week through exercise, had a 25% lower risk of developing breast cancer than those that exercised the least.  Alpa V. Patel, a senior epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society says, “Walking is an easy, inexpensive type of exercise.  Almost everyone can do it.  And for this population of postmenopausal women, it provided a very significant reduction in the risk of breast cancer.”

Exercise, in general, lowers the risk of breast cancer for both postmenopausal and premenopausal women.  A study that looked at younger women performed by the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota studied sedentary, premenopausal women.  This study found that exercise altered the levels of metabolites in the body which may decrease the chance of breast cancer.

Exercise is not the ultimate answer to preventing breast cancer; some women in Dr. Patel’s study who walked regularly still developed breast cancer, and some who did not exercise did not get breast cancer.  But, Dr. Patel encourages exercise and says “Physical exercise, and especially walking, is so simple and so accessible to most women.  And statistically, they do seem to reduce breast cancer risk.  So why not?”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Thanks to YOU, the State Legislature has Passed the PBCC’s Dense Breast Notification Act. Now on to the Governor’s Desk!

Posted By on October 24th, 2013 at 11:30 am | 2268 comments.

October PL 2 ImageGreat News! The state legislature has passed the PBCC’s Dense Breast Notification Act. This legislation, sponsored by PA Sen. Robert Mensch, will require radiologists in Pennsylvania to notify women of their breast density. From here, the bill goes to PA Governor Tom Corbett for his signature before it becomes law.  Thank you for contacting your state lawmakers to support this important legislation.

YOU made it happen!

Dense breast tissue increases a woman’s risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer at a later, more dangerous, less treatable stage. Many women with dense breast tissue do not know they have it, and a mammogram may not be enough to detect a lump or irregularity in the breast. The Dense Breast Notification Act will change that.

“This legislation will save lives. On behalf of the PA Breast Cancer Coalition and the thousands of women in Pennsylvania who may now become more educated about their own breast health, I want to thank our state lawmakers for their efforts in passing The Dense Breast Notification Act,” said PBCC President and Founder Pat Halpin-Murphy. “We commend PA Sen. Robert Mensch, PA Sen. Pat Vance, PA Rep. Matthew Baker. PA Rep. Karen Boback and PA Rep. Mike Turzai for their hard work, dedication and passion for this critical issue. This vote can and will make a difference.”

“Dense breast tissue is a relatively common condition, but it can hide abnormalities and complicate early detection of breast cancer,” said bill Sponsor PA Sen. Robert Mensch. “Notification will allow women to know their own breast density. With that information, they can talk to their doctor about what their breast density rating means and whether they are at a higher risk for breast cancer. That’s a discussion that should happen, and this bill ensures that women will have the information in hand to have that discussion.”

Each day, 32 women in Pennsylvania are diagnosed with breast cancer. The PBCC’s mission is to help find a cure for breast cancer and to improve the quality of breast cancer education, research, programming and outreach in the state. The Dense Breast Notification Act can assure that every woman who receives a mammogram is informed of her breast density along with the potential risk factors and additional screening options available.

Thank you for turning awareness into action and saving lives!

Action Alert: Tell Your State Representative to Support the Dense Breast Notification Act!

Posted By on October 11th, 2013 at 8:44 am | 2034 comments.

Capitol and Pink RibbonWe’re almost there. The PBCC is working on a crucial piece of legislation scheduled for a full House vote next week. Senate Bill 358 would require mammographers to notify women with dense breasts. Women with dense breasts have an increased risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer at a later, more dangerous stage. The State House decides next Wednesday. 

This is where YOU come in…

The House of Representatives needs to know the importance of this legislation.  We have created an advocacy toolkit with more information including video, sample letters and details on dense breast tissue.  Call your state representative and tell him or her to support legislation that would save lives in PA!

If you’re a person who was diagnosed with breast cancer at a late stage because of dense breast tissue, please contact us at 800-377-8828 or email us at

Why should you support this legislation? Watch the VIDEO here.

Download our digital advocacy toolkit here.