Advocacy saves lives by empowering people to express their views and concerns, access information and services, and defend and promote their rights and responsibilities. VBCF has a deep and rich history of breast cancer advocacy – Virginians who spoke up to make breast cancer a household word. Since our founding in 1991, our mission has never changed: we want to eradicate breast cancer. To accomplish this mission, one of VBCF’s two main program focuses is Advocacy.
VBCF’s Legislative Priorities:
- Support policies for Virginians in all stages of the breast cancer journey – screening, diagnosis, caregiving, treatment, survivorship, and end-of-life care
- Support legislation to enable Virginians to receive breast cancer screening and treatment regardless of insurance status or ability to pay
- Promote research initiatives aimed at understanding and eradicating breast cancer
- Support policies aimed at breast cancer risk reduction
VBCF organizes advocates to communicate with Virginia’s elected officials year round to present a united voice for breast cancer. We coordinate volunteers from around the state to gather twice a year to visit their legislators in the Virginia General Assembly and United States Congress to discuss and support improved breast cancer public policy. Join us to let your voice be heard – no training is necessary!
VBCF offers an Advocacy Handbook if you would like to learn more.
In addition, VBCF awards the annual Karin Decker Noss Scholarship of $5,000 to fund one advocate’s training in medical research and legislative advocacy. This recipient attends nationally recognized conferences to learn about current breast cancer related advancements and to bring this knowledge back to share with fellow Virginians.
- Passage of the Breast Density Notification Law – Virginia was the third state in the U.S. to pass such a law.
- Passage of the Oral Chemotherapy Parity Law providing Virginia’s group and individual health insurance plans be required to cover oral chemotherapy drugs on terms no less favorable than coverage provided for IV chemotherapy, thus providing greater opportunity for cancer patients to secure these medications taken at home.
- Increased cancer center funding at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia, the state’s two cancer centers.
- Supported Medicaid coverage for mammography screening.
- Passage of the national Breast and Cervical Treatment Act guaranteeing treatment to low-income and uninsured women diagnosed through Virginia’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, the Every Woman’s Life program.
- Preserved threatened funding for the Virginia Cancer Registry.
- Prohibited health insurers from discrimination based upon a family history of breast cancer.
- Ensured coverage for breast reconstruction and a 48-hour hospital stay following a mastectomy.
- Increased federal funding for breast cancer research.
- Founded the National Breast Cancer Coalition in partnership with other grassroots organization.