Frontline Winter 2022

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PA Senate Passes MRI, Genetic Testing


The Pennsylvania Senate voted unanimously in October to pass two of our breast cancer bills for women at high-risk, sponsored by Sen. Bob Mensch and Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward:



Unfortunately, there was not enough time for the bills to pass the Pennsylvania House before lawmakers adjourned for the year. Now, we have to start all over again. We will need your help to pass this important legislation in the next session of the Pennsylvania legislature.

Learn more about our next steps on page 2.

Mid Penn Bank Makes Largest Single Gift in PBCC History

Mid Penn Bank President and CEO Rory Ritrievi brought some BIG news and a BIG check with him to help us kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month at the State Capitol. The 2022 Mid Penn Bank Celebrity Golf Classic raised a new record $150,000 for our cause!

The 7th annual event hosted hundreds of golfers and more than 50 celebrities. The events included a tournament, golf shoot-out and benefit auctions. To Rory, the Mid Penn Bank team, golfers, sponsors, donors and volunteers, we are forever grateful to you for allowing us to do this work - proudly partnering to find a cure now... so our daughters don’t have to.

Mid Penn Golf Classic volunteers packed 200 Friends Like Me care packages during a Day of Service for newly diagnosed women!

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Winter 2022
200 care packages packed!
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Unfinished Business

The new Pennsylvania legislative session begins in January and we have work to do. Women at high-risk for breast cancer need nocost access to breast screening MRIs and genetic testing. Our no-cost breast MRI bill introduced by Senator Bob Mensch and our no-cost genetic testing bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward both passed the Pennsylvania Senate unanimously in late October, but were unable to make it through the House before it adjourned for the year.

We will not back down. We will not give up. We know how much you - breast cancer survivors, women with dense breasts, women with a family history of breast cancerneed this legislation. Because of your work, we were able to pass the bills in the Senate unanimously. Now we need you even more.

In the coming months, we will be reaching out to you, our action network, to contact your state lawmakers. We will ask you to tell your senators and representatives why it is so critically important to have no-cost access to breast screening MRIs and genetic testing for women at high-risk. Together, we can do this. Take action in 2023. Save lives!

New Board Members Welcome

PA Senator Bob Mensch, our legislative champion, will continue his advocacy for the PA Breast Cancer Coalition as a new board member. Senator Mensch recently retired after an 18-year legislative career with victories including the Breast Density Notification Act, Act 52 of 2020 for breast MRI and ultrasound coverage and the Breast Cancer Research Act. Thank you and welcome to the board, Senator Mensch! (more on page 7)

María Teresa Donate is a breast cancer survivor and previously was a PBCC Northampton County Captain. She is Professor Emerita at Northampton Community College and served as president and founder of Latino Leadership Alliance of the Lehigh Valley. Governor Tom Wolf appointed her as Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs Commission (GACLA). Welcome, Teresa!

Randall Oyer, MD is a practicing medical oncologist and Medical Director of Oncology at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute at Penn Medicine Lancaster General in Lancaster. Dr. Oyer is an ex-officio Commissioner of the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and is a member of the National Cancer Policy Forum at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. Welcome, Dr. Oyer!

Pat Halpin-Murphy, President and Founder


Iwas first diagnosed in June of 2015 with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma with Sarcomatoid features, also known as Metaplastic Carcinoma, and it was triple negative. I was 38 years old at the time of diagnosis and I had 2 young children (ages 3 and 6 ½); I knew I had to do everything possible to eradicate this.

My treatment plan consisted of a bilateral mastectomy, along with chemotherapy. It was a rough few months of battling the side effects from the treatment, but I was determined to finish treatment and move on my with my life. At the conclusion of treatment, including breast reconstruction, several of us went to Jamaica to celebrate!

I decided after this event that I really needed to do something for myself, outside of being a mom and working full time. Therefore, I decided to join a breast cancer survivor dragon boat team in Philadelphia. I joined the team in 2016 with zero experience with this sport and fell in love with it. I am still paddling with the team today and have made amazing friends along the way!

Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with the same type of breast cancer again in February of 2018, also triple negative. In 2015, I found the lump in my breast;

this time I found it in my neck. I immediately called my oncologist and he got me in quickly! This round of interventions included surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. It was a brutal treatment plan and I ended up getting very sick.

At the conclusion of my 2nd battle with breast cancer, I decided to make more lifestyle changes in hopes of preventing this from happening again. I went from being a vegetarian to becoming vegan; I only use non-toxic household items; and I continued to dragon boat.

Another important aspect of my journey that became very important to me is giving back to others in need and to organizations. I facilitate breast cancer awareness events, raise money for local foundations, and volunteer as much as I can. I also serve as a support and mentor for younger women diagnosed with this awful disease.

My message to


diagnosed women

needed to do something for myself, to do for to something

I decided after this event that I really needed to do something for myself, outside of being a mom and working full time... I have made amazing friends along the way! -

Don’t be afraid to ask or receive help. Take time to heal. It’s OK to have a wide array of feelings - seek help when/if you need it. Know your body and if something doesn’t feel right, continue to pursue it until you get an answer.

During treatment, I couldn’t live without...

• The incredible support of my family, friends, and colleagues

• An amazing treatment team

• Comfy clothing!

Sabrina serves as a PBCC County Captain, Grassroots Partner and breast cancer advocate. Watch her story at

Survivor Spotlight
“Don’t be afraid to ask or receive help. It’s OK to feel a wide array of feelings... take time to heal.”
Sabrina is Vice President of the Hope Floats USA Dragon Boat Team for breast cancer survivors

Students and staff turned the Bloomsburg University campus pink for the 20th Annual Breast Cancer Walk benefiting the Coalition. Special thanks to PBCC Board Member Madelyn Rodriguez (picture far right), Bloomsburg’s Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Thank you for 20 years, Huskies!

University Breast Cancer Walk 1. Onvo - $21,000 2. Dance for Life - $11,500 3. Harrisburg Academy - $350 3 1 2 4 5 4. Rally Fore the Cure - $35,405 5. Breaststroke 4 Breast Cancer at Hershey Aquatic Club - $13,013
We hope you had a chance to taste Weis Markets’ special PBCC flavor: Pink Peppermint Patty! Yum! 6. Organic Remedies - $20,000 7. Field of Screams Zombie Fun Run - $8,000 8. Pink Out in the Park - $5,738 9. Parx Casino - $10,000 10. Weis Markets - $10,000 Celebrating 10 Years of the Zombie Fun Run! 11. Nissley Vineyard - $1,400 12. Lancaster Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electrical - $2,200 For more Grassroots Partners photos, follow us on Facebook and Instagram @PABreastCancer! 6 7 8 9 11 12 10

Will My Breast Cancer Come Back?

An Update from the


Breast Cancer Translational Center for Excellence

Co-Director, 2-PREVENT Breast Cancer Translational Center for Excellence Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center

While many patients are cured of early breast cancer, there is still a group of patients who relapse at some point in their lifetime with incurable metastatic breast cancer. There is currently no tool available in practice to identify which patients will relapse after completing treatment, so “watchful waiting” is the standard. Thus, though many patients will ultimately be cured, without a way to proactively monitor for disease before relapse, every patient diagnosed carries the weight of anxiety and fear about recurrence. Our focus has been to determine how to prevent metastatic breast cancer by identifying patients with tumor cells that remain dormant over many years and find ways to prevent those cells from causing a recurrence.

Dormant cells (DTCs) are “sleeper cells” that are not dividing or utilizing any external energy sources. Laboratory studies have shown how these cells stay alive to ultimately reactivate and spread through a variety of different mechanisms. Preclinical studies in mice can kill these dormant cells and prevent breast cancer recurrence. However, to develop clinical strategies to identify and treat these dormant “sleeper” cells in breast cancer survivors to prevent recurrence, we need a way to find the patients who have them and to determine if our treatments work in real time – otherwise, it will take a lifetime to see results.

Currently, a DTC test available to identify dormant cells in the bone marrow of breast cancer survivors. We know from large scale studies of tens of thousands of patients over the last 25 years that DTCs detected in bone marrow are a risk factor that increases the risk of relapse and death anywhere from 2 to

4-fold higher than that of patients without them. However, despite this knowledge, we do not use the DTC test in practice because we lack evidence and interventions on how to change the outcome of patients with a positive DTC test.

Within the 2-PREVENT Center, we have undertaken large scale studies to develop ways to detect DTCs, monitor breast cancer survivors for them, and treat them when we find them. The goal is to be able to monitor any patient who has been treated for breast cancer with this test, and to have treatments available that will get rid of these cells, preventing metastatic relapse and leading to cure. We have also begun testing the blood of the patients in these studies to see if there is evidence of tumor cells there. This test detects fragments of DNA from tumor cells that have reactivated. We now know that this is often detected just a few months before a recurrence.

These ongoing studies will enable us to develop the best strategies for screening breast cancer survivors for dormant “sleeper cells” with the DTC test as a surrogate biomarker and be able to see how adding the ctDNA test to the surveillance strategy can improve it. We will be able to fully understand whether drugs we are testing in our trials that target these cells have a sustained effect by both watching for relapse in patients at high risk of recurrence, and by determining whether an undetectable DTC test predicts long term benefit from these treatments. The success of this testing, treating and surveillance could provide every breast cancer survivor with the peace of mind to be proactive and the ability to cure remaining patients who relapse and die of this disease.

Every patient carries the weight of anxiety and fear about recurrence. Our focus has been to determine how to prevent metastatic breast cancer.”
Congratulations, Dr. DeMichele!
PBCC President Pat Halpin-Murphy presented Dr. Angela DeMichele with the 2022 Potamkin Prize, which includes a $25,000 honorarium at our September Awards Luncheon. Watch Dr. DeMichele’s Conference Opening Session on demand! Scan me!

about &


The PA Breast Cancer Coalition presented its first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award to Pennsylvania Senator Bob Mensch, sponsor of the Breast Density Notification Act, Breast MRI insurance coverage legislation and Breast Cancer Research Act. Senator Mensch is retiring from the Senate and was elected to the PBCC Board of Directors.

Congratulations and thank you, Senator Mensch, on your remarkable career of service to the women and families of Pennsylvania!

Conference 2022 Awards Luncheon

Thank you to PSECU, our Conference Awards Luncheon Photo Frame Sponsor! For more photos from the presentation, Follow the PBCC on social media @PABreastCancer!

Congratulations to 2022 Pink Ribbon Award Winner Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward! Senator Ward partnered with the PBCC on a mammograms outreach campaign that reached millions across the state.

When Pink Ribbon Awardee Igor Skinder heard the PBCC needed a vehicle, he took action. We now have a pink Volkswagen Atlas to drive thanks to Igor and his Volkswagen colleagues. Thank you, Igor!

with the PA Breast Cancer Coalition
Senator Mensch accepts his Lifetime Achievement Award from PBCC President Pat Halpin-Murphy at the Governor’s Residence

2397 Quentin Road, Suite B, Lebanon, PA 17042 800-377-8828

and joy be yours
May peace, hope
this holiday season and all throughout
Don’t miss your mammogram. o It could save your life.
or underinsured?
are available at no cost
the PA Department of Health.
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our family to yours
Call 800-377-8828 to learn
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