April 2, 1999
As the April 15th deadline for filing our state income tax returns approaches, I want to make a special appeal to those of you who have not yet filed your return. Specifically, I would like to draw your attention to Line 52 on the 1998 California Income Tax Return Form 540. Line 52 provides an opportunity to make a donation from your tax refund, -- or add to your tax bill a contribution -- to the Breast Cancer Research Fund (BCRF), a program administered by University of California which spearheads research efforts into the causes, prevention, detection and cure of breast cancer.
All Californians are touched by breast cancer, which has for decades taken a tragic toll among the people of this state. The cost of this disease is measured in human suffering, in lives lost, in wasted potential, and in medical care dollars. In 1998 alone, it is estimated that 180,200 women and men in the US -- 19,300 in California alone -- were diagnosed with breast cancer and 43,900 -- 4,585 in California -- succumbed to the disease. Over half of these deaths were women in the prime of their lives -- younger than age 65 with active careers and caring families, loved ones who will never get over their loss. Breast cancer deprives children of their parents, the private and public sectors of experienced employees at their height of productivity, and decades of life for those who are lost.
You may be familiar with recent data suggesting that deaths from breast cancer may finally be decreasing, but the decrease has been small and does not reflect the following facts. First, a similar decrease in death rates was seen in the late 1970s, but was not sustained. Second, the current decrease could be due to an increase in the proportion of cancers being diagnosed. Finally, death rates for African American women have actually increased over this same period.
When the UC-administered Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) was created by the Legislature in 1993, two methods for financing the research were established. BCRP receives revenue from a two-cent-per-pack tax on cigarettes as well as contributions from the state income tax return donation checkoff program. We have raised approximately $15 million each year from these two sources--a substantial amount of money for research, the benefits of which are already being realized.
So, this year put a silver lining on that dreary annual obligation of filing your state income tax return. Check Line 52 and designate a portion of your refund no matter how large or small -- or add a bit extra to your tax bill -- as a donation to the California Breast Cancer Research Fund. You will thank yourself for joining in the fight to find a cure for breast cancer. Your loved ones and friends will thank you for your caring spirit. And, the University will be indebted to you for your generous contribution to further this most vital research.
Cornelius L. Hopper, M.D.,
Vice President-Health Affairs
University of California
P.S. If you already have filed your state income tax form, please consider making a separate donation to the BCRP sometime in the coming year. Donations may be sent to the California Breast Cancer Research Program, University of California Office of the President, 300 Lakeside Drive, 6th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612.
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