World’s Largest Breast Cancer Organization Promises to Fight for Access, Cures
DALLAS – October 1, 2010 – Energized by its new Breast Cancer Bill of Rights and evidence of the grassroots power of the breast cancer movement, Susan G. Komen for the Cure enters its 26th Breast Cancer Awareness Month asking “What Will You Promise?” in the global fight to end suffering from breast cancer.
“Susan G. Komen for the Cure is promising to fight for access to quality care and ensure that a breast cancer diagnosis doesn’t mean economic ruin for a woman’s family,” said Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. “We are putting the world on notice that we will fight for women everywhere for screening, education, social support and quality healthcare that will save their lives. And we are asking everyone to promise to join us in our mission to end breast cancer, forever.”
Komen’s Advocacy Alliance unveiled its Breast Cancer Bill of Rights on Sept. 29 with 10 tenets that Komen will fight for at local and national levels in the United States. Internationally, Komen this summer established the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Global Health Alliance to address a growing global breast cancer crisis, especially in developing countries. Globally, 1.3 million women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year; 465,000 will die of the disease.
On Sept. 30, to increase awareness and education of the grave statistic that somewhere in the world a woman dies of breast cancer every 69 seconds, the organization hosted a global social media event, gathering online supporters on all seven continents to take 69 seconds and promise to take action against the disease. Thousands of individuals from all continents took action to spread awareness and support.
“We need the collective strength of all women and men who want to see this disease relegated to the history books,” Brinker said. “In our three decades at Komen, we’ve made tremendous strides against breast cancer, funding research that has led to vastly improved survival rates for many early stage cancers, and more personalized treatments for advanced and aggressive disease. Over the next 10 years, Komen will invest $1 billion more to research, and millions more to educate women about their risks.
“Despite those who claim that there is too much awareness, we know that there is not enough awareness and education – we still find women who don’t understand their risks, believe old and outdated myths, or are simply too frightened to seek information,” said Brinker. “We know that early detection saves lives, and we will fight to keep screening programs available to underserved women, because education and early detection are often a woman’s first and best line of defense against this disease.”
She urged supporters to redouble their efforts to end the disease. “Visit our website. Get educated. Talk to your doctor. Learn about your treatment options. Join our advocacy efforts. We need everyone to promise to take an action to end breast cancer.”
Thirty years ago, Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, Brinker founded Susan G. Komen for the Cure in her sister’s memory and launched the global breast cancer movement. That story is documented in Brinker’s best-selling memoir, Promise Me.
Here are just a few of Komen’s accomplishments since that promise:
- Science: Komen’s $550 million investment in research over 30 years has helped cut breast cancer death rates dramatically. Today, the survival rate for breast cancer in the U.S. when caught early before it spreads beyond the breast is 98 percent compared to 74 percent in 1982 when Komen was founded.
- Community: Komen’s global network of community Affiliates have provided more than $1 billion since 1982 for education, screening and treatment programs, especially for under-served women. In 2009 alone, Komen and its Affiliates paid for nearly half a million breast screenings, reached 4 million women with education messages and provided 100,000 women with financial help through treatment.
- Advocacy: Komen Advocacy Alliance (KAA) and Komen Affiliates have helped increase federal breast cancer research funding from $30 million in 1980 to $900 million today and ensured consistent standards for mammography and access to treatment for poor and uninsured women. Today, the KAA is leading the fight to save screening and treatment programs across the country.
- International: Komen’s network of global partnerships now stretches to more than 50 countries, with Brinker leading the way as the World Health Organization’s Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control to find innovative and cost-effective screening and education programs in developing countries. Komen has invested more than $40 million in research and outreach programs, training 25,000 women and men to become breast cancer advocates through Komen’s Course for the Cure program, with an emphasis on low- and middle-resource countries.
Komen currently is funding 759 research grants around the world, exploring scientifically sound prevention strategies, more sensitive and accurate screening and more effective treatments for advanced and aggressive forms of breast cancer.
“We’re proud of our accomplishments but unwilling to sit still,” Brinker said. “The next 10 years will be critical in our efforts to find treatments and cures for breast cancer. We ask our vast pink army of supporters to continue to promise to help end suffering from this disease once and for all.”
To make a promise to end breast cancer, visit www.komen.org.