Washington—In celebration of Women’s Health Week, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Representatives Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) today introduced the Breast Cancer Research Stamp Reauthorization Act to reauthorize the Breast Cancer Research Stamp through 2027.
The Breast Cancer Research Stamp was first issued in 1998 and has since raised $89 million to fund research into breast cancer treatment, one of the most commonly diagnosed forms of cancer in women.
“I’m delighted that the Breast Cancer Stamp, which I first introduced in 1998, has generated $89 million in two decades. I’m also pleased to announce that Senator Enzi and Representatives Speier and Cheney are joining me to reauthorize this important bill for another eight years,” Senator Feinstein said. “Over 20 years this stamp has generated nearly $90 million for life-saving research, and I want it to generate even more over the next 20 years. Breast cancer is beatable, we just need to keep up research funding, and I’m proud of the role this stamp plays in that mission.”
“Breast cancer affects too many of our loved ones,” Senator Enzi said. “This stamp provides the opportunity for anyone to make a small contribution that will make a big difference in the fight against breast cancer. Since 1998, this stamp has raised tens of millions of dollars. This bill would help ensure that research and innovation continues to treat and hopefully find a cure for those with breast cancer.”
“Small change can make a big difference,” Representative Speier said. “One in eight American women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime and it remains the second leading cause of cancer death in women. By selling this stamp, the U.S. Postal Service has generated over $89 million in critically-needed breast cancer research funding at no additional cost to taxpayers. That research means we have more cancer survivors than ever before. And that is why continued efforts to fund research are key to finding new ways to prevent, treat, and cure this deadly disease.”
“Creating the Breast Cancer Research Stamp is one of the truly great things that Congress has done,” Representative Cheney said. “The opportunity for us to fight a disease that impacts one out of every eight women is the definition of common sense, and we’ve seen how successful this initiative has been since its inception over two decades ago. It’s vitally important that we reauthorize this program and continue to combat the devastating impact that breast cancer has so that we can give more women the chance at longer and healthier lives.”
More than two decades ago, breast cancer surgeon Dr. Ernie Bodai launched a campaign to create the Breast Cancer Research Stamp. With the help of Dr. Bodai and breast cancer survivors, Congress in 1998 passed Senator Feinstein’s legislation to create the stamp, and since then more than 1 billion stamps have been sold in the United States, raising $89 million for breast cancer research. The current authorization of the stamp expires this year, putting critical research and development at risk.
“The monies raised to date have affected women worldwide in an incredibly positive way, both by saving lives and improving the quality of life for the ever-growing number of survivors,” Dr. Bodai said. “My dream is that one of the research studies sponsored by these funds would, one day, find the cure we so desperately seek.”
A recent example of the research funded by the stamp is a 2018 study that focused on the treatment for patients with early-stage breast cancer. The study found that most women diagnosed with a common, early-stage breast cancer do not need chemotherapy as part of their treatment plan, sparing up to 70,000 patients a year the cost and negative side effects of chemotherapy without reducing their chances of beating the disease.
The stamp was designed by Ethel Kessler, a breast cancer survivor from Bethesda, Md., and illustrated by Whitney Sherman of Baltimore. It is available for U.S. Postal Service customers to purchase for 10 cents more than a regular first-class postage.
The stamp’s revenues cover USPS’s administrative costs and fund breast cancer research programs at the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense. The Breast Cancer Research Stamp Reauthorization Act is budget neutral, meaning no additional funding is required.
The bill is supported by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American College of Surgeons, Susan G. Komen, the American Association for Cancer Research, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and Are You Dense, Inc.
“The Breast Cancer Research Stamp offers a powerful and practical way for people to show their support for cancer research funding while reminding the public of the role such research plays in developing new means to prevent, detect and treat this disease,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “We’re excited the stamp is again being introduced and hope it will be considered and passed quickly by Congress. We are eager to see its proceeds put to work at the National Institutes of Health.”
“Since the creation of the Breast Cancer Research Stamp in 1998, we have made great strides in the treatment of women with breast cancer, but we still have work to do,” said Ted Anderson, MD, PhD, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “The Breast Cancer Research Reauthorization Act of 2019 will help fund life-saving research that will allow more women to beat cancer in the future. As the organization representing physicians dedicated to quality health care for women, ACOG thanks Senator Feinstein and Representative Speier for sponsoring this important legislation.”
“The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Cancer Programs and the Commission on Cancer (CoC) are dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients through the advocacy of issues pertaining to prevention and research,” said Heidi Nelson, MD, FACS, medical director of Cancer Programs, American College of Surgeons. “Incredible progress in the treatment of breast cancer is due to the cancer community uniting and supporting funding to create a stable foundation for research in the battle against this disease. The Breast Cancer Research Stamp has raised millions of dollars for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Medical Research Program at the Department of Defense. The continuation of the stamp is a way for all Americans to fight breast cancer in their day-to-day lives.”
“Are You Dense, Inc. fully supports the Breast Cancer Research Stamp Reauthorization of 2019,” said Joe Cappello, executive director of Are You Dense, Inc. “This is an excellent way to keep breast cancer research, density and education in the forefront every time we lick a stamp.”
“Research is the reason there are more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. today,” said Myra Biblowit, president and CEO of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. “As the largest private funder of breast cancer research in the world, BCRF would not be able to achieve its mission without the science also conducted by the public sector. The stamp will support the critical research funded by the NIH and DoD necessary to eradicate this disease. Together, we will be the end of breast cancer.”
“On behalf of the more than 270,000 men and women in the U.S. who are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and the more than 42,000 who will die from the disease, we strongly support reauthorization of the Breast Cancer Research Stamp,” said Paula Schneider, CEO of Susan G. Komen. “The only thing that is going to cure breast cancer is research. The research enabled by proceeds from the stamp have played a critical role in advancing screening, diagnosis and treatment. Yet as the mortality numbers show, this fight is far from over.”
In the Senate, the legislation is cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Maize K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).