Funding for Research

Between federal funding and the top private foundations, the U.S. spends at least $1 billion annually on breast cancer research. This does not take into account state-funded research programs, separate research programs at hospitals and medical schools, private foundations, research allocations of under $1 million from non-profit organizations, or research within the pharmaceutical industry.

Federal Research

In 2012, the funds available to the National Cancer Institute totaled over $5 billion. NCI directed $602.7 million to breast cancer research grants, a decrease of $30 million from the $631.2 million allocated in 2010. As the budget allocations show in the table below, this is still a significant part of NCI’s research budget.

NCI Budget

The federal government also funds significant research through the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (DOD BCRP). The DOD BCRP was created in 1992 to increase federal funding for breast cancer research, and congress has approved funding for the program each year since. The congressional appropriation for the program in 2013 is $120 million, a decline from the $138.1 million allocated in 2010.

Research Funding from Nonprofit Organizations

In total, the nonprofit sector raises an estimated $2.5 to $3.25 billion for breast cancer in a given fiscal year. While there are numerous nonprofit organizations across the country and in other countries that raise funds to invest in breast cancer research and other activities, few invest more than $1 million annually. According to their financial reports, the top three private funders of breast cancer research in the United States donated $125.6 million during their 2012 fiscal years. These include: Avon, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The American Cancer Society and The Entertainment Industry Foundation (including Stand Up to Cancer) also has research allocations for breast cancer with their research portfolios. The American Cancer Society spends 39 percent ($121.2 million) of its $391 million budget on research programs across all cancers.

NPO Research Funding Chart

The research allocations of the top nonprofit funders do not represent the organizations’ total budgets. Between 1992 and 2010 the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade raised $700 million, but 2009 figures suggest that only about 23 percent of expenditures each year go toward research grants. Since 1993 the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) raised more than $300 million with 88 percent of its annual budget going to research. Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s 2011 financial statements report that 15 percent of its $420 million in revenues was spent in the research category ($63 million). In contrast 43 percent was spent on education, 18 percent on fund-raising and administration, 12 percent on screening, and 5 percent on treatment.

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