Press Releases

Senators Feinstein, Clinton Celebrate 10th Anniversary of Breast Cancer Research Stamp

- Stamp has raised $63.17 million for breast cancer research -

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) lauded the success of the Breast Cancer Research Stamp, which today marks the 10th anniversary of when the stamp first went on sale.

The Breast Cancer Research Stamp has raised more money than any other fundraising stamp in history. Since the stamp first went on sale in 1998, the U.S. Postal Service has sold more than 829.12 million stamps, raising $63.17 million for breast cancer research.

Last year, Congress passed legislation by Senator Feinstein that became law in December to extend the sale of the highly successful Breast Cancer Research Stamp for four additional years. It had been scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, 2007.

“I am extremely proud of the Breast Cancer Research Stamp’s remarkable success over the past decade,” Senator Feinstein said. “More than $63 million has been raised for critical research to help find a cure for this devastating disease, with over 829 million stamps sold. Last year, the life of this stamp was extended for four more years. 

We’ve all been touched by cancer. We must continue to do all we can to reduce the risk for getting cancer and continue to provide hope to those who are living with it.  It is my hope that a cure will be found in my lifetime.”

Senator Clinton hosted the official launch of the Breast Cancer Research Stamp at the White House as First Lady and cosponsored the legislation to extend the stamp program.

“I am so proud that for 10 years the Breast Cancer Research Stamp has helped not only raise awareness but also urgently needed funds for groundbreaking research,” Senator Clinton said. “This milestone is a tribute to the strength of those whose lives have been turned upside down by breast cancer and the persistence of those dedicated to finding a cure.  I will continue to stand with them to fight for more funding for breast cancer research.  With better understanding of the causes of this disease, we can offer more hope to the patients and families whose lives have been affected by a breast cancer diagnosis and reduce the number of women affected by breast cancer in the first place.”

The Breast Cancer Research Stamp was the first stamp of its kind dedicated to raising funds for a special cause. The renewal legislation provides for the stamp to continue to have a surcharge above the value of a first-class stamp, with the surplus revenues going to breast cancer research.

The stamp currently costs 55 cents and is deemed valid as a 42-cent stamp. The additional 13 cents charged for each stamp is directed to research programs at the National Institutes for Health, which receives 70 percent of the proceeds, and the Department of Defense breast cancer research programs, which receives the remaining 30 percent of the proceeds.

So far, the National Institutes for Health have received $43.09 million and the Department of Defense has received $18.46 million to fund innovative breast cancer research.

The funds have gone to researchers making significant advances in breast cancer research and have been used to support new programs. For example:

  • In 2006, the National Institutes for Health began to use proceeds from the stamp for a new program that helps determine which breast cancer patients are most likely to benefit from chemotherapy, and therefore, reduce the use of chemotherapy in patients that are unlikely to benefit. 
  • Dr. Susan Neuhausen, at the University of California, used a National Institutes for Health “Exceptional Opportunities Award” to conduct research that has led to many insights into breast cancer risks. Specifically, by using both genetic and environmental data to identify a specific genetic mutation that may increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. 
  • Dr. William Lee, at the University of Pennsylvania, used a National Institutes for Health award to do research focusing on the growth of blood vessels in tumors. 
  • Dr. Archibald Perkins, at Yale University, used a Department of Defense “Idea Award” to do research to help with the prognosis of some breast cancers by using new techniques to identify novel genes involved in cancer.  

About 3 million women in the United States are living with breast cancer, one million of whom have yet to be diagnosed. One out of every eight women will get breast cancer at some point in her lifetime, just as one out of every six men will have prostate cancer. The disease claims another woman’s life every 13 minutes in the United States.  

Breast cancer is considered the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in every major ethnic group in the United States, other than skin cancer. Though much less common, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 2,030 American men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.  

Originally created in 1997, Congress has reauthorized the Breast Cancer Research Stamp three times. The original sponsors of the bill were Senators Feinstein, Alfonse D’Amato (R-NY) and Lauch Faircloth (R-NC) in the Senate, and Representatives Vic Fazio (D-Calif.) and Susan Molinari (R-NY) in the House.