As we approach the end of 2012, the Mountains of Hope Foundation wants to thank the sponsors, volunteers and friends who have supported our efforts financially and with their personal involvement to make a difference in the fight against advanced breast cancer.
We are excited to announce that since the establishment of the Foundation in 2003, we have invested more than $1.1 million in advanced breast cancer research. We have made significant investments in research projects at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York, UCSF Carol S Buck Breast Cancer Center in San Francisco, University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio, and at TGen Foundation in Phoenix.
The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. In recognition, this year the Foundation invested $100K in a TGen advanced breast cancer research project - Characterizing drug-resistant tumor clones within primary Luminal B Breast Cancer - headed by Dr. Heather Cunliffe and her research team. We are extremely proud to continue our partnership with TGen to advance the Foundation's mission and further TGen's world-class research.
Great strides have been made in treating breast cancer, most significantly with early detection. However, recent statistics provided by the American Cancer Society indicate:
- About 1 in 8 U.S. women (just under 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
- In 2011, an estimated 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 57,650 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
- About 2,140 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in men in 2011. A man's lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
- From 1999 to 2005, breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. decreased by about 2% per year. The decrease was seen only in women aged 50 and older. One theory is that this decrease was partially due to the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by women after the results of a large study called the Women's Health Initiative were published in 2002. These results suggested a connection between HRT and increased breast cancer risk.
- About 39,520 women in the U.S. were expected to die in 2011 from breast cancer, though death rates have been decreasing since 1990 - especially in women under 50. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness
- For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
- Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. Just under 30% of cancers in women are breast cancers.
- In 2011, there were more than 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the US.
- A woman's risk of breast cancer approximately doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. About 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.
- About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations.
- The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).
- As of Jan. 1, 2009, there were about 2,747,459 women alive in the United States with a history of breast cancer. This includes women being treated and women who are disease-free.
Some additional features on our website we hope you will find useful:
- You can register on our home page to receive a monthly reminder by email to do a self-exam. From my own experience during my wife's 10-year ordeal monthly self exams and mammograms are essential in the early detection of breast cancer. It is a terrible mistake not to do monthly self exams and schedule annual mammograms - and no age is too early. This is how my wife detected her first lump, which was cancerous, and each recurrence thereafter. A lump can be detected through self-exam faster than any other means. In cases where lumps are not discovered through self-exams, annual mammograms are still the best course of catching the disease early.
- Also on our website you can access daily news on breast cancer advances, research, etc.
- Through our partnership with Su Vino Winery we are pleased to offer the Mountains of Hope collection of high-quality, custom-bottled wines. Su Vino Winery is donating a portion of the proceeds of every bottle purchased of this special limited release wine. More information, and to order, visit our website - www.mountainsofhopefoundation.org.
Finally, THANK YOU again to our friends, donors, sponsors, volunteers, research partners, and others in the Mountains of Hope circle of supporters who continue to make the Foundation stronger. As you consider your year-end tax planning, please remember that every dollar donated to the Foundation is a dollar directly invested in advanced breast cancer research. Your gifts to the Foundation are fully tax deductible.
Our sincere wishes for peace and joy this holiday season - and for good health and prosperity in the New Year.
Allen J. Gula, Jr.
Foundation Chairman & CEO