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How exactly our breast cancer charity dollars are spent each year

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Making sense of breast cancer charity dollars

Each year, Americans funnel billions of dollars into breast cancer charities in an effort to fight the devastating disease.

Making sense of breast cancer charity dollars

Have you ever stopped to wonder, though, about the impact of all that money? We've looked at five of America's top-grossing breast cancer charities to find out what your dollars really mean for breast cancer survivors and their families.

  • There are over 1,000 breast cancer charities in the United States alone.
  • The five highest-grossing charities blow the others out of the water in terms of overall revenue.
  • The five highest-grossing charities are the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. (Several of these provide services beyond breast cancer.)
  • Each year, these charities bring in nearly $2.4 billion earmarked for cancer support, research and awareness. A large chunk of this total is dedicated to breast cancer support.
  • Although it's challenging to parse out breast cancer support from other types of cancer support, consider the following highlights of breast cancer initiatives provided through these charity dollars:
  1. 750,000 free breast cancer screenings — including diagnostic mammograms, ultrasounds and biopsies — for young, low-income women
  2. Over 100 clinical trials to evaluate emerging treatments for high-risk breast cancer patients
  3. Several clinical trials related to an emerging focus on breast reconstruction and its relation to emotional health
  4. 100 additional research grants to further understand and someday cure breast cancer
  5. Over 1 million free rides for patients who have difficulty driving to treatments
  6. A $300 credit for wigs, prostheses or medical supplies for each patient who earns under 250 percent of the federal poverty guidelines
  7. 90,000 supportive and/or referral phone calls for patients and survivors throughout their treatment process
  8. 157,000 patient referrals to community resources for further financial or social assistance
  9. Housing assistance, medical care and social services for 100,000 uninsured women and men with breast cancer
  10. Advocacy at over 400 congressional meetings, to promote funding and policies for preventative diagnostics, adequate insurance coverage and quality treatments for breast cancer patients
Get excited. These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg for the support and prevention services available to breast cancer patients and their families.

**Author's note: There are many breast cancer charities in the United States, but we developed this infographic based upon the revenues of America's five top-grossing breast cancer charities. These charities include the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Some of these charities provide services that aren't solely specific to breast cancer. Their status on this list of top-grossing charities is based upon 2013 data from Forbes, and is not a statement about the effectiveness of each charity's programs. Since 2012 was the last year of complete tax information for all included charities, we've used each organization's 2012 Form 990 to create this infographic.

Sources:

Forbes "The 50 Largest U.S. Charities"
Charity Navigator "Charities Working to Prevent and Cure Breast Cancer"
DAC Bond "Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center"
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Annual Report
Charity Navigator "American Cancer Society"
Charity Navigator "Susan G. Komen for the Cure"
Charity Navigator "Planned Parenthood Federation of America"
Charity Navigator "Dana-Farber Cancer Institute"
Charity Navigator "Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center"

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