SEATTLE — April 12, 2006 — The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has awarded a gift of $500,000 to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to support the Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI), a program dedicated to medically underserved women around the world. The funds will enable BHGI to further its international initiatives in breast-cancer early detection, treatment and public-health-care policy.
Founded and led by the Hutchinson Center and the Komen Foundation, BHGI is a global public health alliance comprised of world and regional health organizations, governmental agencies and health ministries, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), nonprofit and for-profit organizations, physicians, scientists, health-care providers and advocates from around the world.
The alliance, which strives to define breast-health guidelines that are evidence-based, culturally appropriate and economically stratified, recently published an unprecedented set of international guidelines that set the stage to reduce the burdens of breast cancer in developing nations, "Guidelines for International Breast Health and Cancer Control."
"The Komen Foundation is truly a global leader in the fight against breast cancer, and we are honored to receive this generous gift to further the work of BGHI," said Benjamin O. Anderson, M.D., chairman and director of BHGI. "Historically there has been little attention paid — and few funds available — toward the cause of women with chronic disease living in countries with limited health-care resources. We are tremendously grateful to the Komen Foundation for its vision in providing essential funding that will support international pilot research and demonstration projects."
According to Anderson, breast-cancer incidence rates have been increasing by up to 5 percent a year in some medium- and low-resource regions, and women in those regions tend to be diagnosed with breast cancer that is already locally advanced or metastatic. The Komen award will enable the BHGI to conduct pilot-research projects, which typically involve new research directions and are likely to provide preliminary data to seek additional funding. Projects may involve testing diagnostic technologies and assessment of breast-cancer systems and situations in medium- and low-level resource countries to provide essential information and recommendations to shape national strategies for early detection and cancer treatment. These projects will result in much-needed data to set strategies for those countries to improve health-care services.
"The scarcity of breast-cancer research and data in countries of limited health-care resources is a significant obstacle to improving care," said Andrew Halpern, vice president and general counsel of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. "The work of BHGI will generate much-needed data to address critical disparities in international breast-cancer control."
Every year, more than 1 million women worldwide are diagnosed with breast cancer; those cases represent more than 10 percent of all new cancer cases. More than 410,000 women die from breast cancer each year, making breast cancer the most common cause of cancer-related death among women around the world, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
"Guidelines for International Breast Health and Cancer Control" have been published by the Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI), an international coalition of doctors, scientists, policy makers and advocates led by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. These recommendations for improving breast-health care and cancer treatment in countries with limited resources can be viewed and downloaded at www.fhcrc.org/science/phs/bhgi/guidelines/guidelines.xml.
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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, our interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists and humanitarians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our researchers, including three Nobel laureates, bring a relentless pursuit and passion for health, knowledge and hope to their work and to the world. For more information, please visit www.fhcrc.org.
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation was established in 1982 by Nancy Brinker to honor the memory of her sister, Susan G. Komen, who died from breast cancer at the age of 36. Today, the Foundation is an international organization with a network of more than 75,000 volunteers working through local Affiliates and events like the Komen Race for the Cure® to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease. A global leader in the fight against breast cancer, the Foundation fulfills its mission through support of innovative breast cancer research grants, meritorious awards and educational, scientific and community outreach programs around the world. Through fiscal year 2005, the Komen Foundation, together with its Affiliate Network, corporate partners and generous donors, has invested $630 million in breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment programs.
For questions about breast health or breast cancer, visit the Komen Foundation's Web site at www.komen.org or call the Komen Foundation's National Toll-Free Breast Care Helpline at 1.800.I'M AWARE® (1.800.462.9273).