Frequently Asked Questions

A startling fact is that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

Why is early detection a women’s best defense against breast cancer?

If detected early, breast cancer can often be treated effectively with surgery that preserves the breast. Five-year survival after treatment for localized breast cancer is 96.3%. (Source: National Cancer Institute)


Are there things I can do to reduce my risk of breast cancer? The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommends nine diet and lifestyle guidelines.

  • Don't smoke
  • Maintain a maximum body mass index of 25 and limit weight gain to no more than 11 pounds after age 18
  • Engage in daily moderate and weekly vigorous physical activity
  • Eat five or more servings of vegetables and fruits each day
  • Eat seven or more portions of complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and cereals each day and limit processed foods and refined sugar.
  • Limit alcoholic drinks to one drink a day for women
  • Limit red meat to about three ounces daily
  • Limit intake of fatty foods, particularly those of animal origin
  • Limit intake of salted foods and use of salt in cooking

A high-risk woman who has a strong family history of breast cancer may wish to consult a genetic counselor about testing for breast cancer genes, and surgical and chemopreventative measures.


What are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?

  • An abnormality that shows up on a mammogram before physical symptoms develop.
  • A lump in the breast.
  • A thickening, swelling, distortion or tenderness in the breast.
  • Skin irritation or dimpling in the breast.
  • Nipple pain, scaliness or retraction.

Note: breast pain is very commonly due to benign conditions and is not usually the first symptom of breast cancer. (Source: National Cancer Institute)


What are the guidelines women should follow regarding breast health?

Women should follow these 3 steps to good breast health:

  • Perform monthly breast self-exams, starting at age 20.
  • Have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years (annually after 40).
  • Have annual screening mammograms beginning at age 40, earlier if you have a family history of breast cancer or other concerns about your personal risk.

(Source: American Cancer Society)


Breast cancer starts from the mutation of a single cell in the breast.

Several mutations are thought to be necessary over a span of a number of years before the cell is in the mode of uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells we call cancer. It is hard to believe, but at the time of diagnosis, most women have probably had their breast cancer for five to eight years. The rate of division and rapidity of growth varies and unchecked, breast cancer can eventually form a mass (tumor) and spread to other parts of the body via the blood and lymph system.


Only about 5-10% of all breast cancers are inherited.

Children can inherit an altered breast cancer susceptibility gene from either their mother or father. Most women—about 80%—who get breast cancer do not have a sister or mother who has breast cancer. While all breast cancer is genetic in origin, most of it is not inherited. (Source: The Breast Cancer Survival Manual by Dr. John Link, American Cancer Society)


What are the risk factors for developing breast cancer? 

In most cases, doctors cannot explain why a woman develops breast cancer. Studies show that most women who develop breast cancer have none of the risk factors listed below, other than the risk that comes with growing older. Also, most women with known risk factors do not get breast cancer. Scientists are conducting research into the causes of breast cancer to learn more about risk factors and ways of preventing this disease.



Breast Cancer Alliance is committed to maintaining donor privacy.


Your submission of personally identifiable information to us is entirely your choice. You may visit and browse our website without revealing any personally identifiable information about yourself to us. However, you may also choose to disclose personally identifiable information about yourself by conducting business with us. We may collect personally identifiable information about you if you:

  • communicate such information to us;
  • subscribe to receive our Newsletter or other communications;
  • make an on-line donation;
  • attend or make a purchase at one of our events.

The personally identifiable information we collect may consist of contact information (such as your name, email address, postal address or telephone number), financial and transaction-related information (if you make an on-line donation to us), and any other information you communicate to us (for example in an email or phone call.)




Breast Cancer Alliance Information Use and Disclosure


Breast Cancer Alliance does not sell or otherwise disclose user information outside the organization.  To be removed from our mailing list, please contact the office,, or unsubscribe from our e-newsletter in the next issue.

In spite of the safeguards that we maintain, no data transmission over the Internet or any wireless network is 100% secure. Accordingly, we cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information that you transmit to us and you must do so at your own risk. However, once we have received your information, we will use commercially reasonable efforts to protect its security.



General Statement

Breast Cancer Alliance (the “BCA”) is committed to observing high standards of legal and ethical business conduct.  Breast Cancer Alliance expects its officers, directors and employees to exercise honesty and integrity in fulfilling Breast Cancer Alliance’s responsibilities and complying with all applicable laws and regulations. This policy is intended to encourage and enable good faith reporting of Wrongful Conduct and to protect individuals from retaliation who make such reports.


This policy creates a mechanism for officers, directors and employees to report Wrongful Conduct.  Wrongful Conduct is defined as a violation of applicable law or regulations or material violations of Breast Cancer Alliance’s operating policies (“Wrongful Conduct”).

Examples of Wrongful Conduct that this policy is intended to address include, but are not limited to:

  • Forgery or alteration of documents;
  • Fraudulent financial reporting;
  • Unauthorized alteration or manipulation of computer files;
  • Non-compliance with the Breast Cancer Alliance’s legal responsibilities;
  • Misappropriation of funds or theft of property of the Breast Cancer Alliance; or
  • Material violations of conflict of interest, record retention or other Breast Cancer Alliance policies, including the Employee Handbook.

No officer, director or employee (a “Reporting Person”) who in good faith reports Wrongful Conduct will suffer retaliation, harassment or adverse employment consequences.


A Reporting Person may report Wrongful Conduct directly to the Executive Director, any director-level employee, any officer or any member of the Executive Committee of the Board of the Breast Cancer Alliance. Such persons are required to report immediately any allegation of Wrongful Conduct to the President of the Board of Directors, in his capacity as Chairperson of the Executive Committee, who has specific and exclusive authority to investigate all reported violations.  If the Reporting Person believes that the concerns reported will not be fairly considered, the Reporting Person may report Wrongful Conduct directly to any member of the Board of Directors.

Breast Cancer Alliance  will make every effort to treat the Reporting Person’s identity with confidentiality, with the understanding that details of the allegations concerning the Wrongful Conduct may need to be shared with others in order to conduct a comprehensive investigation.

Anonymous reports, while accepted, impact the Breast Cancer Alliance ’s ability to conduct an investigation. Thus, Reporting Persons are encouraged to disclose their identity to increase the credibility of the report and to enable the Breast Cancer Alliance  to investigate the matter thoroughly. 

The Reporting Person will not be expected to prove the truth of his or her allegations of Wrongful Conduct, but he or she should be prepared to demonstrate that the allegations are made in good faith and to submit whatever evidence is available to support the allegations.  Reports of unfounded allegations of Wrongful Conduct that are demonstrated to have been made recklessly, maliciously or with the knowledge that the allegations were false may lead  to disciplinary action,  up to and including termination.


The President of the Board of Directors, in her capacity as Chairperson of the Executive Committee, is resonsible to supervise and direct a prompt investigation. The action taken will be dependent on the nature of the concern. The President of the Board of Directors, in her capacity as Chairperson of the Executive Committee, shall provide a report of the conclusions of the investigation and a recommendation for the disciplinary and corrective action to be taken, if any, to the Board of Directors, who will determine by majority vote whether to adopt such recommendation or adopt an alternative action.

Due to the important yet sensitive nature of the suspected violations, effective professional follow-up is critical.  Reporting Persons and officers who become aware of Wrongful Conduct, while appropriately concerned about “getting to the bottom” of such issues, should not in any circumstances perform any investigative or other follow-up steps on their own.  Accordingly, a Reporting Person or officer who becomes aware of Wrongful Misconduct:

  • Should not contact the person suspected to further investigate the matter or demand restitution;
  • Should not discuss the case with attorneys, the media, or anyone outside the investigation; and
  • Should not report the case to an authorized law enforcement officer without first discussing the case with the President of the Board of Directors, in his capacity as Chairperson of the Executive Committee.

Retaliation Prohibited

No Reporting Person who reports Wrongful Conduct in good faith under this policy shall suffer threats, abuse, harassment, retaliation, discrimination or any other or adverse employment consequence.  A person within the Breast Cancer Alliance  who does retaliate against a Reporting Person is subject to discipline up to, and including, termination of employment.

Any Reporting Person who believes he or she has been retaliated against should report it to the President of the Board of Directors, Executive Director or other member of the Board of Directors.

Certification of Compliance

When an individual is first appointed or employed, he or she must complete and deliver to the Breast Cancer Alliance a certificate in the form specified by the Breast Cancer Alliance , which, can be obtained from the office as Annex A.

Violations of this policy will be subject to such disciplinary and corrective action as the Board of Directors deems appropriate.

Periodic Reviews

The Board of Directors shall review this policy periodically to ensure that it continues to satisfy the obligations of the Breast Cancer Alliance.  Any changes to the policy will be communicated timely to all employees.


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