States Get Creative in Raising Money for Breast Cancer Programs

License plates, lotteries and the ability to make a donation on income tax forms generate millions

FRIDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Fundraising methods such as a state lottery, selling specialty license plates and offering the ability to make a donation on state income tax forms have raised millions of dollars for breast cancer research and prevention programs in the United States, a new study says.

Researchers found that 18 states have programs that enable taxpayers to check a box on their income tax forms to donate part of their tax refund to breast cancer programs. The median annual amount collected was $115,000 per state.

The study also noted that 26 states have breast cancer license plates that have generated more than $4.1 million. The extra cost of the specialized plates ranges from $20 to $75, said the researchers at Washington University in St. Louis in a university news release.

States with medium or high breast cancer death rates were 2.5 times more likely to offer breast cancer specialty license plates than states with low breast cancer death rates, they noted.

Illinois was the only state to have a breast cancer lottery, which raised $7.4 million from 2005-09.

"We found that revenue-generating breast cancer initiatives can be a successful strategy for states to raise funds, or 'pink ribbon dollars,' for prevention and early detection programs," said Amy A. Eyler, a research associate professor at the Brown School of Social Work and the Prevention Research Center at WUSL.

The study appears online and in the September-October print issue of the journal Public Health Reports.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about breast cancer prevention.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: Washington University in St. Louis, news release, Aug. 31, 2011

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