• “The Strong Ones:” Komen Partners with Breast Cancer Survivors in Zhongshan, China

    Headlines & Helpful Information, Global


    Komen’s partners in China gathered in Zhongshan to review Komen’s Chinese Community Educator Training Manual. The training manual, developed through Komen’s partnership with GE healthymagination, will train women in China to go out into their own communities and workplaces to educate others about breast cancer. Yan Qing can be seen in the front row second from the left.

    By Katy Hunt, Susan G. Komen Global Programs Manager

    The biggest health crisis around the world is the growing burden of non-communicable diseases, disproportionately affecting the world’s poor, young and urban citizens.

    China is no exception. Breast cancer is the second-most common cancerand the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths – after lung cancer – among women in China. While the Chinese government has taken serious steps to respond to these sobering breast cancer statistics, it continues to be a serious health issue.

    To support China’s efforts to reverse these deadly trends, Komen is partnering with GE healthymagination, the All China Women’s Federation, and the China Women’s Development Foundation to advance breast cancer awareness and education.

    Last month, Komen’s VP of Research and Community Health Programs Operations Victoria Wolodzko and I traveled to China to test breast cancer education materials and meet with our local partners who are supporting our breast cancer efforts. Our destination was Zhongshan, a coastal city in southern China.

    In Zhongshan, we met an amazing group of young survivors. As with most meetings, it began with introductions and stories shared.  We quickly noticed that each woman’s story mentioned Yan Qing, the meeting hostess.

    One of the young survivors shared that she was deeply depressed when she first met Yan at the hospital. Facing 20 rounds of chemotherapy, she felt hopeless to cope with the side effects – physical, emotional and financial. Yan arranged for financial assistance and was there to support her emotionally. That’s when she realized she was not alone. When she shared her story with us, she offered her thanks to Yan.  Smiling, Yan simply said, “She is the strong one.”

    A breast cancer survivor herself, Yan knows what it means to be strong. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, and felt afraid and hopeless. But she believed that her own experience as a breast cancer patient could help others.

    Yan became a qualified social worker in 2012, and established the Zhongshan Breast Cancer Support Group, a peer support organization. She inspired all those around the table that day – and many others – to fight on for themselves and their loved ones.One survivor shared, "For me, working on this breast cancer project is like a gift – I am connecting with so many inspiring women, like Ms. Yan Qing. This work also helped me to pay attention to my own breast health. When I had surgery to remove mammary fibroma in 2014, I deeply and truly felt how meaningful my work is. I am very proud and grateful to be part of this project."

    Zhongshan Breast Cancer Support Group has grown since 2012, and was recently awarded a grant from All China Women’s Federation in recognition of the organization’s outstanding work.

    We’re proud of the work we’ve done in China toward our mission with these outstanding partners, and we will continue to fight breast cancer in countries across the globe until we’ve realized our vision of a world without breast cancer.


    [i]Ferlay J, Shin HR, Bray F, Forman D, Mathers C and Parkin DM. GLOBOCAN 2008 v2.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 10 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2010. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 08/19/13.

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