Breast Cancer Research Advisory Network (BCRAN)

Help shape the future of breast cancer research

Who we are

The Breast Cancer Research Advisory Network (BCRAN) gives a voice to community members looking to shape the future of breast cancer research. BCRAN connects breast center patients, survivors and co-survivors with physicians and researchers at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center for a unique partnership.

Founded in 2015, BCRAN provides a critical patient perspective to lab studies, clinical research and grant applications. Our member advocates draw upon their own personal experiences to help guide the work of researchers.

Through this work, BCRAN members also help secure critical funding for breast cancer research, which allows UW Carbone to more quickly turn lab discoveries into clinical treatments

The impact of our work

Breast Cancer Research Advisory Network members have helped secure grants that are now being used to advance breast cancer research at UW Carbone. That includes funding from:

  • Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund
  • The Avon Foundation
  • The Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program
  • The National Institutes of Health
  • The Susan Komen Foundation
  • The V Foundation





Why we do what we do

When it comes to setting research priorities, patients and survivors haven’t always had a seat at the table. We believe research is stronger and more relevant when our voices are represented.

Because of research and advocacy, outcomes for patients with breast cancer have improved significantly in recent decades. We have improved prevention strategies, early detection and more effective treatments. Yet, there is still more work to be done:

  • Certain types of breast cancer remain difficult to treat.
  • Breast cancer still disproportionately affects women and men of color.
  • Side effects of treatment may cause other health issues down the road.

Working together leads to more rapid progress in addressing these critical areas, and helps identify new issues as they arise.

More importantly, many BCRAN members are breast cancer survivors and have benefited from research. We bring a human face to research efforts.

Benefits of joining

Joining BCRAN means you will help shape the future of breast cancer research!

  • You will meet leading physicians and researchers at UW Carbone who are dedicated to treating patients and discovering new treatments for the disease.
  • Members can learn about the cutting-edge lab science at the foundation of this
  • You can connect with like-minded individuals who are passionate about discovering more effective treatments for breast cancer.
  • Training opportunities are also available. Through BCRAN, you can receive advocacy training at national meetings and conferences.

Who can join

Women and men who have a strong desire to address and improve prevention, diagnosis, treatment and quality of life for people affected by breast cancer are welcome. You do not need to be a breast cancer expert. Your experience and perspective is all that is required!!


How we do it

BCRAN meetings are held every two months at the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research, which is adjacent to UW Hospital and Clinics. The meetings are in person, as well as virtual to meet needs of the members from any distance.

The meetings provide a venue for advocates to hear about specific research projects, offer their perspective and help develop researchers’ ideas for use in the clinic setting.

BCRAN members are also active in their communities. As ambassadors for UW Carbone, members educate individuals, community groups and public officials about the latest breast cancer research and the importance of participating and investing in it.

BCRAN members can also participate by supporting community events that raise awareness and funds. Some members have committed their time and energy to create fundraising events that combine education with other experiences, such as:

  • Be the Cure
  • One Woman Many Lakes
  • Effcansah

Another event is Carbone’s Race for Research, which allows members to join researchers’ teams for a community run/walk.






Meetings are every other month and are in person, as well as virtual to meet needs of the members from any distance.

Upcoming Meetings:

November 21, 2023 (6-7:30pm)

Check out Agendas from Past Meetings

Upcoming Gatherings:

Summer Gathering: Friday, August 18, 2023 at Wisconsin Brewing, Verona 5:00 pm


BCRAN Members Tour McCardle Lab (Photo by Wei Xu/ UW Madison

BCRAN members can be involved with researchers their proposals,  grant submissions and the like by reviewing their proposals and writing letters of support.

Letters of Support (LOS) Examples & Templates

Advocate Biosketch Examples & Templates


Through BCRAN, you can receive advocacy training at national meetings and conferences such as:

The San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS)

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)

The American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO)

Travel Grant Application:


BCRAN members can also participate by supporting community events that raise awareness and funds.

Upcoming Volunteering Events:

Nothing scheduled at this time!


UW Carbone Cancer Center’s researchers share updates on their research. BCRAN members, patients and advocates also share their stories too! Check it out!




Be the Cure is a fundraiser to support breast and other cancer research at the UW Carbone Cancer Center, started by Nancy and Mike Cahill back in 2009 and has generated nearly $200,000 to benefit cancer research. Consider donating online.