As Americans, we should
share an important national
priority: namely, finding
the cure for cancer. This
disease killed my sister, Susan G. Komen,
three decades ago, and it kills more than
600,000 people annually. More than
40,000 people in the U.S. alone die of
breast cancer each year.
Cancer claims more people in one
year than all the wars of the 20th century
combined. Cancer kills more people
each year than AIDS, tuberculosis and
malaria. In spite of these startling figures,
our nation has become complacent about
cancer and seemingly unconcerned about
the slow pace of progress being made.
As an advocate and founder of Susan
G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s most
progressive breast cancer organization, I
have made it my life’s work to ensure
that finding a cure for cancer becomes a
Good news: a report earlier this year
cited a decrease in the number of overall
cancer deaths in the United States. The
fact that screening can make a difference
was once again confirmed. Advances in
treatments combined with early detection
have led to a drop in cancer mortality
rates. More people are becoming breast
But Komen is not letting its guard
down; in fact, we’re pressing even harder
for policy change and increased funding
for research. We’re addressing systems
barriers so that quality care is available
to all people with breast cancer. We’ll
continue to push for the availability and
affordability of regular mammography
screening, so that cancers are caught
earlier when they are most treatable.
We’ll work to ensure that everyone has
access to screening and quality treatment.
The drop in incidence and mortality is
not reported equally across all population
groups, and this is very troubling news.
We’re funding research to find what
causes breast cancer, so we can then
find ways to prevent it. We’re funding
research to develop new and even more
accurate early detection methods, to
explore new treatments and to address
disparities in order to save more lives.
The cancer battle is far from over, and it’s
time for all of us to combat our nation’s
disheartening culture of complacency.
If anything, we all must fight harder to
capitalize on the momentum that has
begun, so we can ultimately experience
a world without breast cancer.
– Nancy G. Brinker