The Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester is a diverse group of breast cancer activists. We are survivors, warriors, and advocates. We are women, men, families, partners, mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, and others dedicated to our mission.

We are a local grassroots organization whose mission is to provide support to those touched by a diagnosis of breast cancer, to make access to information and care a priority through education and advocacy, and to empower women and men to participate fully in decisions relating to breast cancer. The only full-scope independently operated organization focused specifically on breast cancer in the Greater Rochester Region, we have recently opened many of our programs and services to those with gynecological cancers as well.

Breast Cancer is a serious health problem in New York State, with more than 12,000 new cases and 3,500 deaths reported each year. Breast cancer represents over 28% of all malignancies among women. It is the number one cause of death in women between the ages of 30 and 54. At this time, one in eight women can expect to be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. Currently, Monroe County ranks among the highest for all new diagnoses of breast cancer in New York State. This high rate of breast cancer and the high mortality rate for women, especially younger and minority women, has motivated us to become educated about this disease so that we can, in turn, educate others. We are further motivated by a concern for the future health of our daughters, granddaughters, sisters, mothers and friends.



Breast Cancer 101: One-to-one sessions offering information and support in a safe, supportive atmosphere to those who are coping with a breast cancer diagnosis.

Brown Bag Fridays: A drop-in, non-traditional support group that gathers over lunch every Friday.pALS-packfull

Peer Advocates Lending Support: P.A.L.S.℠: Individual breast cancer survivors reach out a helping, supportive hand to those who are new to the disease. A PALS PakSM full of comfort items is provided to all participants.

Evening Seminars: Monthly educational seminars on current, relevant topics are designed to inform and empower survivors and community friends.

The Healing Arts Initiative: Ongoing classes in complementary healing modalities such as yoga, tai chi, Qi gong, or mindfulness meditation.

Voices & Vision: Led by a professional, sensitive instructor, this is an opportunity for those with breast and gynecological cancers to explore and express their feelings through writing.

Book Club: A vital, supportive community for those who don’t feel the need for a support group.

Young Survivor Soirees: Informal networking gatherings for those who have been dealt a breast cancer blow in the midst of a career climb, or while raising children, or whose family plans may have been derailed by breast cancer treatment.


Support Groups:

  • Tuesday Night Breast Cancer Support Group, meets every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month from 5:30 to 7:00pm
  • Thursday Night Breast Cancer Support Group, meets  every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month from 5:30 – 7:oopm
  • Common Ground: Living with Metastatic Breast or GYN Cancer Discussion Group, meets every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month from 12:00 – 1:30pm
  • Lymphedema Awareness Network of Rochester (LANROC) : meets every 2nd Wednesday of the month from 5:30 – 7:00pm

Breast Cancer Research Initiative

An integral part of the Coalition’s continuing efforts to eradicate breast cancer, these grants focus on breast cancer cause, prevention, prevention of metastasis, and cure. To keep the discussion balanced and patient-focused, our Research Advisory Board includes health professionals and breast cancer survivors. Since 2003, our Research Initiative has provided more than $480,000 in funds  to Upstate New York researchers.

The Advocacy Committee

Committee members create and maintain relationships with lawmakers at the local, state, and national officials to keep breast cancer in focus as a major health issue in this country affecting millions of women and families. In so doing, they create opportunities to advocate for and lend support to breast cancer relevant bills and public policies. Our advocates make in-person visits to legislators on a regular basis, traveling when necessary to make those important connections.

Coalition advocates work with citizen and environmental agencies and organizations to increase awareness about environmental hazards related to breast cancer and other public health risks.

In 2005, the Neighbor Notification Bill was passed by the Monroe County Legislature thanks in large part to the combined efforts of Coalition advocates and community members. This law requires property owners to notify their neighbors before applying certain garden pesticides. Coalition advocates were again at the forefront in the effort to enact the 2014 Compassionate Care Act in the New York State Legislature, legalizing the medicinal use of cannabis.








 Quarterly Newsletter

Voices of the Ribbon came into existence in 2002 as an outgrowth of its predecessor, the B-Line Newsletter, which had been published since 1998. With the dual goals of providing encouragement and inspiration to the breast and gynecological cancer communities as well as imparting accurate, science-based information, Voices of the Ribbon has a circulation of 11,000. Besides being delivered to our subscriber list, it is available in many local cancer treatment centers, health care providers’ offices, and local businesses.


Our website is a resource for the breast cancer community near and far. It provides much needed support, information about breast cancer and about the Coalition. An archive of newsletters can be found there as well. We continually strive to update and renew this resource. Find us at www.bccr.org.


Terri Schmitt Legislative Reception in honor of a founding member who left us too soon. At this gathering, legislators and our survivor community meet and talk for an evening.

Lives Touched, Lives Remembered is an evening of reflection and music in tribute to all of the remarkable women and men who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, as well as their families, friends, supporters, and care providers. This event highlights the reasons we work so passionately to eradicate breast cancer, and to support and empower all those affected by the disease.

The Annual Cindy L. Dertinger Advanced Breast Cancer Seminar: Tools for the Journey

Co-sponsored by M&T Bank in memory of their friend and colleague, Cindy L. Dertinger, this informative seminar focuses on the needs of those living with stage IV or metastatic breast cancer. Family members, friends, supporters, caregivers, and care providers are also welcome to attend.