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  • The Komen Scholars Meet in Person for the First Time!

    Guest post from Patty Spears, Cheryl Jernigan, Mary Elliott and Sandy Finestone, breast cancer research advocate members to the Komen Scholars.

    The Komen Scholars was established in 2010 to provide the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Scientific Advisory Board with advice and expertise in scientific peer review of research applications. The Komen Scholars are a diverse group of breast cancer experts and leaders in research coming together as one council, for one cause: to put an end to breast cancer! The Scholars met for the first time last week to discuss the current Komen for the Cure grant review process and current research projects.

    The meeting started with a welcome lunch where the Scholars connected with each other prior to the discussion. Komen president, Liz Thompson, and the rest of the staff introduced the organization and presented an overview of the grant review process. In a room full of renowned scientists and research advocates, all comments were welcomed and listened to!

    Each session encouraged conversation resulting in suggestions for future processes. Comments and concerns were provided, and our collective knowledge resulted in many suggestions that will enhance the Komen grant review process and outcomes.

    We also heard presentations from each of the researchers leading several Komen Promise Grants – some of the most innovative and translational research funded by Komen. Based on particular areas of expertise, many of the Scholars offered new ideas or possible enhancements to the research projects already underway.

    There is still much work that needs to be done and our ability to fund leading breast cancer research is becoming more crucial to achieving an end to breast cancer.

    The scientific leadership of the Komen Scholars is very impressive and we are proud to be valued partners with Komen in this fight. Research advocates and scientists working together as Komen Scholars can ensure the research we fund will change the breast cancer landscape and lead to better prevention, diagnosis, treatments and, ultimately, the cures.

  • The Caterpillar Foundation Joins the Fight Against Breast Cancer in Latin America

    Today we are very excited to announce we have joined forces with the Caterpillar Foundation in a $2 million, three-year partnership to increase breast cancer awareness and improve screening and early detection outcomes in low-resource communities in Latin America. This isn’t something to be taken lightly- this is the largest gift from a single foundation ever awarded to us in three decades!

    The partnership will award grants to local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to establish and further develop comprehensive early detection programs with the goal of increasing breast cancer screening rates in Monterrey, Mexico; Sao Paulo, Brazil and Panama City, Panama. In Latin America, more than 70% of cancers are diagnosed when the disease is very advanced, and cancer is stigmatized and viewed as a ‘death sentence.’ The Caterpillar Foundation’s generous support gives us a unique opportunity to help fund critical programs that will ultimately save lives.

    In keeping with our philosophy of building on existing infrastructure, each of these communities was chosen because they already had screening services in place, and we have already laid the foundation through our Course for the Cure™ program to scale-up screening efforts through community assessment and grassroots training initiatives. One of the key components of the Course for the Cure training program is the community assessment model, which identifies screening gaps and unmet needs within each community in an effort to better understand and define each region’s priorities and objectives for future action. These gaps guide the development of new, evidence-based community programs that improve local breast health outcomes.

    The grants will support public awareness campaigns, breast self-awareness training, training for medical practitioners and infrastructure improvements. Additionally, our Global Initiative staff will support sustainability by convening community roundtables to develop guidelines for effective screening policies, increase screening resources for uninsured, poor and/or rural women and by conducting training workshops in coordination with the community roundtables. Stay tuned because the first round of grant recipients will be announced this summer!

    Recognizing the growing global impact of breast cancer, the shared challenges among countries worldwide, and the value of coordinated advocacy in the battle against this disease, we began exploring outreach outside the U.S. in 1999. We have provided more than $27 million in funding for international breast cancer research and more than $17 million for international community education and outreach programs in more than 50 countries.

    This support gives us a unique opportunity to truly make a life-saving impact for thousands of women and men in communities throughout Latin America.

    Read the official press release here.

  • In-Depth Interview With Nancy G. Brinker

    In support of International Women’s Day (March 8), our founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker had an in-depth interview with the Huffington Post’s Rahim Kanini. They discussed the challenges still ahead for women’s health, the evolution of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the state of breast cancer, her role as Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control, cause-related marketing and the urgent need for cancer control programs worldwide.

    The interview can be found at the link below.

    Huffington Post: In-Depth Interview with Nancy G. Brinker

  • Join Us and Fight Breast Cancer on International Women’s Day

    International Women's DayToday is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, a day when we acknowledge the advocacy still needed for women all over the world. It’s also a day that showcases women’s issues – health, economic development and family. Of course, we are a women’s health organization, focused on ending breast cancer, and we’ll tell you one way you can show your support for our mission further down in this post.

    For now, we’d like to start by thanking all of you — volunteers, donors and partners — for building a global community fighting for women’s health. Breast cancer is still the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women (nearly 1.4 million women around the world will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year) and the second leading cause of cancer death in women worldwide (approximately 465,000 deaths attributed to breast cancer).

    This discouraging news points to the urgent need for all women to support each other. The good news is that we’re making progress with lower mortality rates and higher five-year relative survival rates for early stage cancers. We are committed to the research that will deliver answers for aggressive and lethal forms of the disease, while supporting women through a breast cancer diagnosis in thousands of communities worldwide.

    Today, we encourage you to learn about your breast health and talk with your health care provider about appropriate screening. This is an especially important conversation to have if breast cancer or other cancers, run in your family. But don’t be complacent if breast cancer isn’t a family disease: the most important risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman and getting older. Know your normal – understand what your breasts usually look and feel like and report changes to a health care provider. View our recommended screening guidelines and information here. Finally, make healthy lifestyle choices that may reduce your risk of breast cancer, including maintaining a healthy weight, adding exercise into your routine and limiting alcohol intake.

    We are the only breast cancer organization selected to be recognized by Google in connection with its International Women’s Day events. We elected to participate in Google’s “Join Women on the Bridge” events – one of many events being conducted in the United States in connection with International Women’s Day. Our virtual bridge can be found by searching “Dallas, TX” at http://www.google.com/iwd2011.

  • The 2011 Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure Kicks Off With A Record Grants Investment!

    2011 Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure Kick-Off

    From L to R: Breast cancer survivor Susan Sonley, Katrina McGhee Komen EVP and CMO, Nancy G. Brinker Komen founder and CEO, Heather Patrick Komen manager of community grant making, breast cancer survivor Beverly Battle and Dr. Mark Johnson, surgeon with Providence Hospital

    What an exciting way to kick-off the registration and fundraising season for the 2011 Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure® held annually on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.! At a news conference yesterday morning, we unveiled 15 new community grants totaling $4.5 million – a record investment for our community grants program in the National Capital Area.

    What was most exciting was not the size of the investment, but rather what these grants will do – after years of steadily building awareness and increasing access to screening, these grants will help us improve breast health education and to break down barriers to care.

    Two grants will focus on provider education, helping doctors and other health care providers develop a better understanding of the myths, fears and unique needs of the diverse cultural populations they serve. Eleven others will focus on patient education, including targeting breast health awareness messaging in a culturally sensitive manner to develop a better understanding of the importance of screening, the effectiveness of modern treatments and survivorship.

    Our two largest grants will focus on addressing barriers to care caused by the area’s overly fragmented heath care system. These encourage partnerships between providers in the region so that patients can be easily and efficiently referred from the point of screening all the way through treatment, limiting difficulties with travel and work requirements, reducing wait times, and providing financial assistance.

    We were thankful to Providence Hospital, which was awarded one of the two larger grants, for hosting the event and enjoyed hearing one of their lead surgeons, Dr. Mark Johnson, talk about the impact they hope to make thanks to the Komen grant. We were also touched by the zjest for life of Barbara Battle, a three year survivor who benefited from a Komen-funded patient navigator at Providence. And we were energized by the determination of two-time survivor Susan Sonley, who urged her fellow Washingtonians to not only register for the June 4 Global Race for the Cure, but to also fundraise.

    The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® Series is the largest and most successful education and fundraising event for breast cancer ever created; it now includes about 140 Races on five continents. We know that the success of our Global Race, like every Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event is based on the support of the local community. Each year more than 40,000 people descend on the National Mall for the Komen Global Race – 94% come from the National Capital Area – a bold statement about the community’s unity and resolve to save lives and end breast cancer forever.

    More information about the National Capital Area Grants is available here.

    To learn more about 2011 Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure or to register, visit www.globalraceforthecure.org.

    If you’re not in the Washington, D.C. area, but would still like to support the Global Race for the Cure, you can participate in our Sleep In for the Cure program upon registering.