The Breast Cancer Research Stamp

Spring 2015 - Volume 19 Number 2



The Breast Cancer Research Stamp—a sampling of stamp images from around the world. The stamp depicts Artemis (Diana in Roman mythology), goddess of the hunt and protector of young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women. She is depicted reaching for an arrow in her quiver to fend off an enemy of women: breast cancer. The position she assumes is also the position for breast self and clinical examination, a subtle reminder for women. The right breast has been removed and replaced with the words "Fund The Fight. Find A Cure." The rainbow of colors represents the fact that it is a disease of women that affects women of all colors. The rainbow is also thought of as the symbol for hope: in this case, the hope for a cure.


The stamp was originally released in the US in 1998 at a rate of 40 cents (standard first-class letter rate was 32 cents); the balance was allocated to the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense to fund breast cancer research. The stamp is now available in 23 countries in various iterations: most based on this design, some completely different. More than $90 million has been raised in the US through the sale of 985 million stamps. There is no way to know how much money has been raised in other countries, but with the funds raised, some countries have set up Cancer Registries and others have purchased mobile mammogram units. Those countries with no research infrastructure use the funds for education, outreach, and treatment. All funds raised in a country stay in that country.


This year's goal, with fewer than 15 million to sell, is to reach 1 billion stamps sold.


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