31 Days of Impact – Day 23, Dr. Riccardo Masetti
The story of breast cancer is the story of people. Learn about Komen’s impact and work in the fight against breast cancer as told through the eyes of breast cancer survivors, researchers, community health workers and advocates. Read more stories.
DR. RICCARDO MASETTI, ROME, ITALY – Physician, Advocate, Global Health Ambassador
“Beyond the borders of Italy, there still are many countries with very limited resources – helping improve the treatment of cancer in these countries is extremely important to me.”
“In 2010, women of reproductive age (ages 15-49) in developing countries made up 23 percent of the global total of breast cancer cases, meaning there are now twice as many women under 50 with breast cancer in the developing world than in developed countries.”
“My goal is to work alongside Komen, as we continue to fight breast cancer on a global scale.”
In 2000, when I had the opportunity to start Komen Italia, my goal was to increase awareness about breast cancer in my country – as education is one of the major challenges surrounding breast cancer globally. We were inspired by, and worked toward, the great achievements of the Komen model, such as the Race for the Cure, which in the United States has motivated women to stand up and speak openly about breast cancer. Over the past 12 years, I’m proud to say, Komen Italia has grown to be one of the leading organizations in breast health advocacy and education in Italy.
However, beyond the borders of Italy, there still are many countries with very limited resources – helping improve the treatment of cancer in these countries is extremely important to me.
I have a busy life with my wife and children, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Rome, and my work at the Catholic University where I serve as the head of the Breast Surgical Unit. But, I will always find time to dedicate to the international initiatives that I’m passionate about. In 2010, women of reproductive age (ages 15-49) in developing countries made up 23 percent of the global total of breast cancer cases, meaning there are now twice as many women under 50 with breast cancer in the developing world than in developed countries.
This jarring reality has encouraged me to become a Global Health Ambassador for Komen. My global work has allowed me to serve as a chair for a breast program of the Euro-Arab School of Oncology, which was created to advance the fight against cancer in the Arab world. I have also served on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Breast Health Global Initiative, and I am currently serving as senior medical director of the HopeXchange Ghana Health Project, a collaborative international effort aimed at increasing healthcare capacity in sub-Saharan Africa.
We are working very hard in Ghana. In 2010, we completed the construction of a new hospital in the city of Kumsai, Ghana, and we were able to establish the first breast cancer International Learning Laboratory there – a collaboration of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, BHGI, the Ghana Breast Cancer Alliance, and HopeXchange.
The original idea was a small mission hospital, and it is turning into something much greater. We are working on a comprehensive model of intervention to help increase healthcare capacities in sub-Saharan Africa. This model can be replicated in other countries of limited resources in order to improve access to quality healthcare for women who are in dire need. My goal is to work alongside Komen, as we continue to fight breast cancer on a global scale.
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About the author
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure®, we have invested more than $1.9 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.