Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is in its third decade and much progress has been made.

Deaths from the disease declined by 38 percent from 1989 to 2014. But it still takes the lives of more than 41,000 people in the U.S. each year.Sponsored: Gambar Koala

The Susan G. Komen Foundation considers that number unacceptable and has set what it describes as a “bold goal” of cutting the number of deaths in half by 2026.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month highlights progress

Tribune-Star file photo/Joseph C. GarzaThe new black: Steve Bedwell sports a pink feather boa as he walks for the team “Pink is the new Black” during the 2017 Race for the Cure at The Meadows Shopping Center on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017.

“We’ll do this by focusing on breakthrough research for the most aggressive and deadly breast cancers (including stage IV, metastatic breast cancers) and through programs to ensure all people receive the care they need,” the foundation says in its informational materials.

Achieving the goal requires an investment in resources across the organization in research, community care and action. Eliminating one-third of all breast cancer deaths could be achieved without a single new breakthough – just by connecting people in need with access to timely, high-quality breast cancer care, according to foundation leaders.

Eliminating all breast cancer deaths remains the foundation’s vision but likely won’t be achievable in the next 10 years, leaders say. Rather than set a lofty but unrealistic goal, they have announced a strategy that is aggressive but – more importantly - achievable.

Shifting grant focus

This year’s grants represent a shift in focus, with research into metastatic cancer, which is cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, and treatment resistance making up 100 percent of competitive request for application-driven grants from the National Institutes of Health and about 70 percent of the foundation’s overall portfolio. That’s up from 40 percent the previous year.

The foundation is also working to address gaps in access to timely, high-quality care.

Most deaths are due to breast cancers that have spread to the lungs, liver, brain or bones. Focusing on the most aggressive and deadly cancers is intended to drive urgency in the foundation’s fight and educate those who believe all breast cancers are easily treated or always curable.

The facts are that an estimated 154,000 people are estimated to be living with metastatic cancer in the U.S. About 94 percent of those were treated for early-stage cancer – sometimes years ago – and thought they had conquered breast cancer. Only about 6 percent are initially diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month highlights progress

Awareness style: Kyle Vannoni shaved a Race for the Cure ribbon into the side of his hair for the 2017 Race for the Cure at The Meadows Shopping Center on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017.Tribune-Star file photo/Joseph C. Garza

Progress against breast cancer has been described as stunning since Komen’s founding in 1982.

Discovering that breast cancer is not a Growing knowledge has led to new therapies and targeted treatments that have improved survivability for many and replaced one-size-fits-all treatments of three decades ago.

Thousands of Komen-funded community-based programs have helped remove many financial, geographic and psychosocial barriers to care that can affect survivability.

Komen advocacy has helped improve access to care for low-income and uninsured women through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, introduced mammography safety and quality standards and helped significantly increased federal research funding.

Health equity

The Komen Foundation is concerned about any disparities in breast cancer outcomes based on ethnicity, income, insurance or access to care. African-American women, for example, die of breast cancer at rates about 40 percent higher than white women.

To close the gap, Komen has launched the African-American Health Equity Initiative, which focuses on the 10 U.S cities where the differences in outcomes are the largest. The initiative is in additon to many other programs funded by Komen and its affiliates to ensure that all people have access to, and receive, high-quality care.

Komen launched a public education campaign this year with The Ad Council called “Know Your Girls” to inspire young African-American women to learn about their family health history and breast cancer risk.

Other programs continue to ensure that all women and men – yes, men get breast cancer, too – are served. Those include initiatives serving Hispanics – breast cancer is the leading cause of death for Hispanic women in the U.S. - as well as Asian, LGBTQ and rural communities.

Restructuring for efficiency

The Komen Foundation has been working for a number of years on strategies to strengthen its affiliate network while using donors’ dollars more efficiently. This has included centralizing and sharing certain resources and services, such as accounting and information technology.

Some affiliates have determined that by joining together they can maximize the impact they can make on their communities. Komen’s goal is to ensure that anyone who needs help can get it.

Source : http://www.tribstar.com/news/local_news/breast-cancer-awareness-month-highlights-progress/article_c0c0b2ac-6906-50c2-b778-c757b3584a66.html

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