Corporate America's help is needed to stop the growing increase in breast cancer, says the director of the National Cancer Institute.
By disseminating information, providing free or low-cost mammograms, and having information available for employees who need it, businesses could strike a strong blow against the most common major cancer in American women, Dr. Samuel Broder, the director, said today.
Broder said 54 million women are employed and reaching them could "dramatically increase early detection of tumors and reduce deaths."
Despite an increased success rate in treating breast cancer, there is bad news, according to the NCI. The rate of occurrence among American women increased 32 percent between 1982 and 1987. Only lung cancer is rising faster.
Last year, there were about 155,000 new cases, which claimed the lives of 44,000 women.
If all women ages 40 and over underwent regular mammography screening and then received state-of-the-art treatment, the death rate could fall by 30 percent, saving 13,500 lives a year, experts say.
Broder, part of "a new coalition" to battle cancer, spoke today at the second Women's Leadership Summit in Washington at the Rayburn House Office Building. The summit was sponsored by the NCI and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Based in Dallas, the foundation sponsors breast cancer research and education programs.
The new coalition would bring the nation's business community into the war against breast cancer already being waged by the Women's Leadership Summit.
Some 200 representatives from major U.S. corporations, small businesses, unions, business associations, Congress and the scientific community were expected to attend.
Broder's speech touched on some of breast cancer's "promising new drugs and therapies."
These include: experimental ways of stopping the spread of disease; gene therapy research that eventually may allow replacement of the aberrant genes or gene products that appear to contribute to the development of cancer; new approaches to high dose chemotherapy followed by bone marrow "rescue;" and development of biological compounds to target and treat microscopic deposits of cancer.
The NCI has compiled a "Top 10" list of breast cancer activities for businesses interested in it.
Broder said the list would provide all employees with the 1-800-4-CANCER hot line number.