METAvivor Research and Support Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to funding research for Stage IV, metastatic breast cancer, announced the launch of its Stage IV Stampede campaign. The campaign will commence with a day of action on National Metastasis Breast Cancer Awareness Day, October 13, 2017 in Washington, DC that will include a march, a Die-In (hosted by partner MET-UP), a panel discussion and visits with Congressional offices. The day of action which is supported by actress, Mira Sorvino, is a grassroots advocacy and awareness effort to request increased funding for research on Stage IV metastatic cancer, to improve access to life-extending treatments and to encourage congressional leaders to keep vital patient protections in healthcare reform for those with Stage IV metastatic disease and other terminal illnesses.
Metastatic breast cancer (also known as Stage IV or advanced stage cancer) is the spread of breast cancer to non-adjacent parts of the body -- most commonly to the bones, liver, lungs and/or brain. Currently, metastatic breast cancer is minimally treatable, but not survivable. Much of the current metastatic cancer research is focused on preventing metastasis rather than trying to save the lives of those who have already metastasized. Metastatic breast cancer accounts for 100% of the more than 40,000 annual deaths due to breast cancer. Metastases is not unique to breast cancer, all cancers can and do metastasize thus, approximately 600,000 Americans continue to perish each year as a result, and 90% of those individuals die from cancers that have spread.
METAvivor has partnered with a number of organizations on the campaign, including the MET Up, the Male Breast Cancer Coalition, the Tigerlily Foundation and the Underbelly Blog. Corporate sponsors of the advocacy plan include Novartis, Tesaro, Genentech and Eisai.
The coalition of organizations, sponsors and supporters is focused on advocacy for three main issues:
1. Expand the metastatic cancer research portfolio at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 & FY 2018 through growth in appropriations and demonstrated congressional interest in controlling and eliminating cancer that has already disseminated (metastasized). Ensure the growth of the Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) at the Department of Defense (DoD) in FY 2017 and FY 2018, and encourage prioritization of research opportunities for already disseminated, metastatic, stage IV cancers since eliminating breast cancer through prevention has failed.
2. Participate in community advocacy efforts focused on improving the drug development pipeline and patient access to life-extending treatments.
3. Ensure vital patient protections in healthcare reform such as: A. Limit out-of-pocket costs for patients; B. No pre-existing condition discrimination; and C. No lifetime maximums on health coverage.
According to actress Mira Sorvino "I am pleased to partner with METAvivor to launch this day of action and critical advocacy plan for patients with stage IV, metastatic breast cancer. We have the potential to make a significant difference in the survival of many metastatic patients but we cannot do this without substantial change in how we fund research. This project is very dear to me as I lost two of my best friends, Champagne Joy and Karim Noack, to this brutal disease."
Beth Fairchild, METAvivor President, said, "The Stage IV Stampede on October 13th is the flagship event that will launch an intensive, grassroots effort to educate Congressional and other leaders about the specific needs of people with Stage IV, metastatic cancer. We have over 200 patients and advocates that will convene on Capitol Hill this October 13th to express the need for additional research funding for metastatic cancer that will hopefully, one day transition stage IV metastatic cancer from a terminal to manageable disease. We cannot do it without support."