List Owner's Message

This list owner's message is written and periodically updated by Jon Church, the List owner, to provide information on the Breast-Cancer List. Major topics are:

Mandate and Purpose
Caution regarding BCRA test results
Posting to the List
How to keep from being dropped
Check subject line
Problems with signature file


1) Mandate and Purpose

An open discussion list for any issue relating to breast cancer.

This is an unmoderated list open to researchers, physicians, patients, family, and friends of patients, for the discussion of any issue relating to breast cancer.

While some of the list will be devoted to discussions of medical advances, as well as possible therapeutic treatments, both mainstream and alternative, the list should also have a less rigorous side to it. The list does not recommend particular therapies, but seeks to increase the information available on options and choices.

It will also be a forum for breast cancer patients and their loved ones to vent frustrations and offer alternative strategies in dealing with the patriarchical medical-industrial complex, and to offer help and insights into the psychosocial management of the disease.

Finally, the list will offer a venue for the discussion of the work of various grassroots breast cancer advocacy groups worldwide, to announce events, to exchange ideas related to breast cancer activism, and, more broadly, to discuss the politics of breast cancer and health care. [Return to top]

PLEASE NOTE: Increased public awareness of the role of BCRA1 and BCRA2 mutations in the etiology of some breast cancers has led to more people requesting and obtaining genetic testing for such mutations. If you have obtained such tests, DO NOT POST RESULTS to the BREAST-CANCER List!! The BREAST-CANCER List is widely distributed and postings are archived at a number of publicly accessible WWW sites. Genetic testing results are HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL and dissemination of results may affect ones ability to obtain treatments and insurance benefits. [Return to top]

2) How-to Post and Other BREAST-CANCER Commands

Please save this message for future reference, especially if you are not familiar with LISTSERV. This might look like a waste of disk space now, but in 6 months you will be glad you saved this information when you realize that you cannot remember what are the lists you are subscribed to, or what is the command to leave the list to avoid filling up your mailbox while you are on vacations. In fact, you might create a new mail folder for subscription confirmation messages like this one, and for the "welcome messages" from the list owners that you will occasionally receive after subscribing to a new list.

POSTING TO THE LIST: To send a message to all the people currently subscribed to the list, just send mail to This is called "sending mail to the list", because you send mail to a single address and LISTSERV makes copies for all the people who have subscribed. This address ( is also called the "list address". You must never try to send any command to that address, as it would be distributed to all the people who have subscribed. All commands must be sent to the "LISTSERV address", It is very important to understand the difference between the two, but fortunately it is not complicated. The LISTSERV address is like a FAX number, and the list address is like a normal phone line. If you make your FAX call someone's regular phone number by mistake, it will be an unpleasant experience for her but you will probably be excused the first time. If you do it regularly, however, she will probably get upset and send you a nasty complaint. It is the same with mailing lists, with the difference that you are calling hundreds or thousands of people at the same time, so a lot more people get annoyed if you use the wrong number.

To prevent unsolicited distribution of large binary files, email file attachments and to facilitate reading the BREAST-CANCER List when it is received in DIGEST form (see below), line limitations have been imposed. Global restrictions @mun limit email messages to 2 MB or less; size limitations of 1000 lines or less are in place specifically on the BREAST-CANCER List. If you attempt to send a message that exceeds these limits, it will be rejected.

At the present time, there are about 500 people from more than 20 countries subscribed to the BREAST-CANCER List. This translates to at least 100 postings daily. The server software provides a posting daily limit to protect the email community-at-large from situations where automatic mailings-gone-mad could occur. The default setting is 50 mail messages per day. Currently, given the size of this community and traffic, this default setting has been increased to 150 postings per 24 h. If traffic exceeds 150 posts in any one day, further BREAST-CANCER traffic is halted until myself or my sysops examine the situation and restart the server. Among many various solutions available, list traffic can be kept to a reasonable and manageable level if users remember to group messages addressing various subscribers or threads on the List under a single mail heading, and to personally email fellow subscribers *off-list* whenever possible or appropriate. In addition, effective January, 1999, each list subscriber is limited to 5 postings per 24 h period. [Return to top]

TO REDUCE SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE STRAIN ACCOMPANYING THE VOLUME OF MESSAGES HANDLED DAILY by the BREAST-CANCER Listserv, the following measures are currently in place to reduce error message traffic:
     1) Auto-delete functions of LSoft listserv software have been made more stringent: Any address that generates 50 error messages in total, or for a duration of 3 days, whichever comes first, will be DELETED from the B-C subscription list;
     2) For many reasons, LSoft listserv software does not automatically recognize all address formats, and so cannot see all errors. But I can! From now on, any address reporting mailbox full (ATTN: AOL users especially!!), transient failure, name server timeout, etc for 3 days, will be DELETED! Any address reporting unrecoverable error such that messages in a queue will be deleted, will be DELETED immediately from the B-C List subscription list.
     3) Upon initial sign-on, as well as every 60 days subsequently, subscribers will be asked to confirm their request to sign on. This will reduce subscriptions from incorrect or bogus email addresses, and further reduce error messages. We are working to remove the confirmation requirement from the unsubscribe request - it is not clear how as it appears connected to my password protected functions. I'll be back to you concerning this.
     4) Every 60 days Listserv will automatically ask all users set to NOMAIL if they wish to RENEW their subscriptions. You will have 7 days to reply to the message. If you do not, you will be automatically DELETED. If in the time you have been on NOMAIL your address has changed you may be unable to renew easily (see 3 above), but again it should keep the list leaner and more efficient.

If you find yourself signed off, please do not take offense. You have very likely not *done* anything for which this might be retribution. If you find yourself unceremoniously signed off without your knowledge, check that your mailbox is not full, and that your system is not down. If all is well, simply resubscribe.

SUBJECT HEADINGS: In order to allow efficient searching of digests and archives (see below), as well as to give recipients some idea as to the issues you wish to address in your posting, we suggest that you pay particular attention to the "Subject" line of all submissions. Rather than simply hitting the "Reply" function, please take a moment to double check the "Subject" heading and ensure the existing "Subject" remains true to your post. [Return to top]

PLEASE NOTE* LISTSERV does not compute messages containing a signature file (.sig file, like mine below). ALL MESSAGES DIRECTED TO LISTSERV@mun MUST BE DEVOID OF .SIG FILES (I.E. SIGNATURE FILE FUNCTION "OFF")! [Return to top]

DIGEST FORMAT: By sending a SET BREAST-CANCER DIGEST command to, you can change your mechanism of receipt of postings- from individual, full-header messages received as they are sent to the List by subscribers, to a single (rather large) daily collection or "digest" of messages with condensed headers. This is particularly useful if you have limited mailbox space, pay per message received, or simply like to download mailings and search according to your particular interests. To revert to default settings (i.e., to receive individual postings), send a SET BREAST-CANCER NODIGEST message to LISTSERV@mun.

NOMAIL: If you wish to temporarily halt the receipt of BREAST-CANCER postings, but remain subscribed, you can do so by sending a SET BREAST-CANCER NOMAIL command to To return to receiving regular mail, send a SET BREAST-CANCER MAIL command to the same address. Remember, if you remain NOMAIL for 60 days or more, LISTSERV will ask you to RENEW your subscription (see #4 above). [Return to top]

LEAVING THE LIST: You may leave the list at any time by sending a SIGNOFF BREAST-CANCER command to

PLEASE NOTE: LISTSERV will then send you a message asking for a confirmation of your request to signoff. Please do not overlook this, because without it your request will be ignored.

We are currently reviewing the need for this confirmation request upon unsubscription. Please stay tuned! [Return to top]

ARCHIVES: The BREAST-CANCER List is continuously archived at and is word searchable. [Return to top]

OTHER OPTIONS: You can also tell LISTSERV how you want it to confirm the receipt of messages you send to the list. If you do not trust the system, send a SET BREAST-CANCER REPRO command and LISTSERV will send you a copy of your own messages, so that you can see that the message was distributed and did not get damaged on the way. After a while you may find that this is getting annoying, especially if your mail program does not tell you that the message is from you when it informs you that new mail has arrived from BREAST-CANCER. If you send a SET BREAST-CANCER ACK NOREPRO command, LISTSERV will mail you a short acknowledgement instead, which will look different in your mailbox directory. With most mail programs you will know immediately that this is an acknowledgement you can read later. Finally, you can turn off acknowledgements completely with SET BREAST-CANCER NOACK NOREPRO. [Return to top]

IF YOU HAVE ANY FURTHER QUESTIONS about the BREAST-CANCER list, write to the list owner, Jon Church, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, at:

jon church memorial university of newfoundland
st. john's, newfoundland (the eastern edge...)

"We're not interested in a world in which to be human is a weakness." Rene-Daniel Dubois

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