Over the past fiscal year, we received one hundred and eleven (111) telephone requests and twenty (20) e-mail requests for information. We hear from women who have felt a lump in or near their breast and from those recently diagnosed. We are asked to give them names of doctors who might refer them to a diagnostic mammogram or for sources for wigs or prostheses. These enquiries are a time-consuming but very important part of our mission.

To complement this one-on-one information-giving, our website (www.acsqc.ca) has been updated and enlarged and now includes substantial materials in both French and English, articles from recent newsletters, as well as hot links to a number of environmental organizations.

The BCAM Bulletin continues to win friends and influence people. In the last year, we have had lead articles on the controversy over funding by the pharmaceutical industry, on the questionable results of the Long Island Study, and a thought-provoking piece on the push for direct advertising of prescription drugs to consumers. The newsletter is sent out to all BCAM members, donors, and to prospective funders and is one of the best selling points for a BCAM membership.

Our library has expanded and now includes three new books by former speakers at BCAM events: Having Faith, the latest by Sandra Steingraber, When Smoke Ran Like Water, by Devra Davis, and the newly revised version of Dr. Susan Love's Hormone & Menopause Book. We also have the excellent Bathsheba's Breast, by James Olson. These books, and a wide range of booklets in both French & English, are available to members to borrow and to non-members to browse 'sur place.'

Over the year, BCAM members were present to supply information about breast cancer and the environment at a booth at the annual "Sunday in the Park" sponsored by Head & Hands; at the annual Marionopolis Health Fair; at a meeting of recent immigrants at St. James United Church; at a session organized by the RQASF (Réseau québécois d'action pour la santé des femmes) at which the film "Exposés" was viewed and discussed; at a luncheon meeting of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation of North America (CEC) for a viewing of the English version of the same film; and at a presentation by Projet Porte Parole of a short documentary play about the Quebec health care system. In addition, Ginette Boucher visited 15 classes at Villa Maria Secondary School to alert young women to the need for proper breast care.

In October of last year, pixel billboards in three locations in and around Montreal flashed the message "Prevention is the Cure" along with BCAM's telephone number. This promotion of our cause was donated by Pattison Outdoor. We were also featured in a short article which appeared in the Parliamentary Bulletin issued by the office of Marlene Jennings, federal MP for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce/Lachine.

BCAM was the beneficiary of money and publicity garnered at a car wash operated by students at John Rennie High School; from the annual Girl Guides' March held in the South Shore community of Greenfield Park; from the ladies of the Beaconsfield Golf Club; and from curtain calls held in March at the request of the Women's Committee of CAEA (Canadian Actors' Equity Association). We are grateful to these four groups.

BCAM members attended a meeting of the Comité de soutien à la qualité of the PQDCS (Programme Québécois de dépistage de cancer du sein) in Quebec City in October; the annual Stakeholders' Meeting of the Canadian Breast Cancer Network in Toronto, and a day-long colloquium on breast cancer in Montreal sponsored by La Lutte contre le cancer (both in November); and, in December, a "teach- and lobby-in" in Ottawa sponsored by the Canadian Health Coalition on the Future of Canada's Health Care. A BCAM representative continues to participate in meetings of the NDG Coalition for Health Care and, this spring, we were represented at the "Eyes Wide Open" event sponsored by CoCo (the Centre for Community Organizations) to discuss changes in government funding. Gerry Rogers, the Newfoundland film director of "My Left Breast" was the keynote speaker at our Annual Meeting last year. She pointed out that breast cancer was included in the list of cancers which had had the greatest increase in incidence, and that this increase could be correlated to higher levels of exposure to noxious chemicals. She challenged each of us to inform ourselves, and to act.

In this regard, BCAM has, for some time, supported the ban on pesticides proposed by the previous Minister of the Environment, André Boisclair, and enacted by the former provincial government. Extending this interest, on June 10th, several BCAM members attended the first of the City of Montreal's public hearings on a proposed pesticide bylaw. The brief drawn up and presented at this hearing was published in the latest BCAM Bulletin.

BCAM has proceeded with plans for a workshop to train volunteers in handling telephone enquiries and doing outreach. This has been aided by small grants from a number of MNAs (Members of the National Assembly) who have donated and continue to donate funds to support this initiative.

BCAM sponsored two major events over this past year. In April, we presented the highly successful "Pills, Profits and Women's Health" featuring two guest speakers, Barbara Mintzes from the University of British Columbia, and Claude St-Georges of the CSN (Conféderation des Syndicats Nationaux). This event was co-sponsored by the US/Canada coalition 'Prevention First' and CKUT McGill. Thanks to Prevention First we were able, for the first time, to employ a professional publicist which we believe had a lot to do with the ultimate success of the event. We also asked for, and received, the endorsement of 16 community organizations in and around Montreal who added weight to the importance of this topic.

A recent editorial in the Montreal Gazette (Sept. 7/03) advocating the advertising of prescription drugs — followed by a letter of protest from the Quebec Medical Association (Sept. 9/03) — demonstrates that this controversy is far from resolved.

Our second major event was the "Prevention is the Cure" March which was inaugurated in October of 2002 and which will be repeated this October. This was an opportunity for all members of BCAM to bear witness to the basic purpose of BCAM, that primary prevention of breast cancer deserves more attention and financial support from both the research community and the public at large. As well as focusing the spotlight on this fundamental BCAM principle, the March was fun for all who participated and earned a respectable amount of media publicity.

We also have sad news to report. BCAM board members Joy Laverdure and Lanie Melamed are no longer with us. We mourn the loss of two very special people — Joy, a board member in BCAM's early years, and Lanie, the feisty and passionate woman who kept us up-to-date with what was happening in the field of environmental studies.

We are fortunate that many stalwart supporters are around to take up the slack. Laura Shea came on board as our representative to the Prevention First coalition but, having expended the term of its funding, Prevention First is now forced to depend on volunteer activity. Laura did an unbelievable amount of work to make the march of last October and this spring's event successful and, I am happy to report, she has decided to continue with us in a volunteer capacity.

We'd also like to acknowledge board members Rose Alper, Susan Hertzberg, Janine O'Leary Cobb, Terrye Perlman, Chris Kupka, Carol Secter and Avis Antel. On their behalf, we thank Molly Markman, who does our books, Ginette Boucher who is such a willing spokesperson for BCAM, Sarah Cobb who designs the website and formats the newsletter, Jennifer Fellegi, our translator, Maychai Brown, who goes well beyond the call of duty in running the office, all the members of the newsletter committee, the volunteers who stuff the envelopes or who handle the calls to members, and any and all BCAM members and friends of BCAM whose names are unknowingly omitted but who have helped us out in matters large and small over the last fiscal year.