Howdy, gang -

Reading some material to start preparing for the Patient Advocate
Congress next month in DC, I've just found out that Sen. Stephens has
put the kibosh on the DoD research programs for BrCa and ProCa in the
next fiscal year's budget. I don't know the exact details yet, but his
position seems to be that the DoD should not be sponsoring this type of

From my perspective, he has missed the fundamental point which is that
the WAY forward progress made in finding solutions to both of these
diseases in the past several years is DIRECTLY the result of the DoD's
ability to put a laser-beam-like focus on its mission (for example, the
mission of the Breast Cancer program is "Eradicate breast cancer" --
can't get much clearer than that) and to steer WAY clear of all the
infighting that hangs up things in the NCI (and all of NIH as far as I
can tell -- having watched the NIH budget up close and personal for five
years while I was working in my senator's press office, I think my
crapmeter is probably still capable of functioning).

I suspect that we can't ask anybody like Erica or Lisa about this
(unless I miss my guess, they probably are required to remain mum on
such issues by virtue of their roles in life).  So, the next question,
is what we can do?

I've already communicated with a BrCa advocate from Anchorage who's WAY
into serious advocacy issues (his wife of many years died of IBC a year
ago in May) and who's taken on BrCa advocacy as his mission in life.

Next, I presume that NBCC and NABCO both are doing something.  Can
anybody say what?

Finally, are any of the rest of you going to the Patient Advocate
Congress?  The information is at (and for
Karin, this is the group I asked you about when I was trying to track
down the insurance lady named Nancy earlier this spring).

Whaddya think?

\ /     Virginia R. Hetrick, here in sunny California
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