How We're Different
A Single Mission
Since its founding in 1995, Earlier.org - Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test® has worked and focused solely on the earlier detection of breast cancer, ideally a BIOLOGICAL TEST, which has the potential to reduce or prevent invasive surgery, minimize treatment and dramatically increase survival rates.
Many non-profit organizations have multiple offices, staff and multi-level internal organizations. Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test® has only one office, located in Greensboro, North Carolina, with one full time and two part time staff members. The objective of the organization is to direct as many funds as possible, as quickly as possible, to the research. When Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test® achieves its clearly defined mission to fund research leading to successful earlier detection, the organization can willingly and thankfully close its doors.
“This is a project, not an ongoing organization. A biomarker will be found and a test to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages will be created. No previous generation has had the opportunity to make an impact of this magnitude on breast cancer.” — Martha Kaley, Founder
Frequently Asked Questions
Don't all breast cancer organizations do the same thing?
Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test® is the nation’s only non-profit breast cancer organization which is focused exclusively on finding an earlier biological test for breast cancer. Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test® is not designed to be a support group or a group to fund any types of projects or research other than this critical breast cancer research.
Isn't there a great deal of ongoing breast cancer research? How is this any different?
Yes, there is a great deal of breast cancer research already being conducted. Much of the existing research involves the understanding of how a cancer cell works and/or is directed towards finding a cure. All of this is important research. It is the position of Friends that as this work is continuing, there is a critical need to intercept and identify breast cancer earlier. Considering that most breast cancer is in the body five to eight years before it can ever be imaged tells us that we have a significant window of opportunity to take action earlier.
How does your organization select the recipients of the grant money?
Friends has a group of leading surgeons, oncologists and researchers who volunteer their time to form our Medical Advisory Board. These dedicated professionals review submitted research proposals for scientific validity and to make certain that the proposed projects are in keeping with the mission of the organization. Upon the recommendation of this Committee, the Board of Directors then approves the distribution of funding.
Why do you fund multiple research projects as opposed to only one particular research project?
This focused work is being addressed and/or conducted by select scientists and researchers throughout the world. It is the goal of Friends to provide these individuals with medical research funding, as appropriate. Funding the work of multiple researchers affords scientists the opportunity to explore new ideas, therefore launching new ways of thinking and innovative ways of looking at breast cancer detection. In addition, Friends must meet the challenge of generating interest among researchers to attract them to this mission.
It is important to note that Friends awards grants for cancer research in the form of a seed money grant to researchers and scientists as individuals, NOT to institutions. This maximizes each and every dollar in two ways:
- Funding a researcher as opposed to an institution allows the researcher to "own" his or her work, therefore, allowing them to take that work with them if they move to another institution or place of employment.
- Friends does not fund any "indirect" research costs. Most institutions require that a portion or percentage of funding received via an institutional grant be reserved for administrative costs. Given the $40,000 amount of the seed grant, Friends aims to use its research dollars in the most effective manner possible, so we fund only the individual researchers themselves.
What would your organization do if a test were identified tomorrow?
Our goal is to work our organization out of business. When a test is identified, we will close up shop. We do not need to duplicate good work that is already being done. Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test® has one and only one objective so there is no confusion about our goal: identifying a biological test for breast cancer. It is a goal that can be achieved. It will change the picture of breast cancer forever.
How will an earlier biological test change breast cancer?
An earlier biological test will raise a red flag that breast cancer is in the body — possibly before a tumor has even formed. Patients would then be able to begin treatment on a far earlier timeline than is available now. Surgery could be minimized, if not eliminated and the damage that cancer does to the body could be minimized as well. Treatments are constantly improving, so new approaches could be employed on an ongoing basis.
How would this test help breast cancer survivors?
A dependable biological test would allow a breast cancer survivor and his/her medical team to rest assured that they would be quickly aware if a recurrence occurred. Action could then be initiated quickly. Imagine the relief that this would provide!