Pa. residents can support breast cancer programs on tax returns

Pennsylvania residents who want to support breast cancer research and programs can do so simply by checking off a box on their state tax return. The PA Breast Cancer Coalition's "Refunds for Research" campaign allows residents to donate part or all of their state refund by checking "yes" on line 35 of their PA 40 tax form. Kevin Smith, communications director for the nonprofit coalition, said for most people, directing their refund to the coalition on their tax return is an easy way of charitable giving.“It’s extremely simple. Anybody receiving a refund on their Pennsylvania tax return can donate part or all of that income simply by checking a box and filling in the amount,” Smith said, adding that the average donation is $8. The coalition provides funding for Pennsylvania based-researchers, acts as a clearinghouse for programs and services, and helps women statewide access medical or preventative services in their area. Smith said since the "Refunds for Research" campaign began in 1997, more than $2.8 million has been donated to breast and cervical cancer research in the state. The American Cancer Society estimates that it takes at least 10 years to fully develop a drug or therapy; 1 in 8 women in the nation will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and 32 women a day in Pennsylvania receive a a diagnosis of breast cancer. Smith said these circumstances make it extremely important that Pennsylvania researchers continue with their goals of finding reliable early detection methods and cures for breast and cervical cancer. "Everybody can contribute their little bit to the end goal, which is funding Pennsylvania-based researchers. We have world-class researchers in the state, so getting the money into their hands is very important. The money funds grants for the initial funding of projects," Smith said. Some of the institutions who have received funding to initiate or advance research projects are Carnegie-Mellon University, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Magee-Women's Hospital of UPMC Health System and The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine-Hershey Medical Center. To date, 71 grants have been awarded to Pennsylvania institutions for breast and cervical cancer research. For more information on the PA Breast Cancer Coalition, people can call 800-377-8828, visit, or visit the organization's Facebook or Twitter.Pick up a copy of the Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.