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Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R), Speaker Dennis O'Brien, Obama and McCain Health Care Advisors, Breast Cancer Survivors and Advocates Call for Needed Health Care Reforms

Pennsylvania Joins Nationwide Komen Community Challenge Campaign to Close the Gaps that Make Breast Cancer Deadlier for Low-Income Women and Women of


PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania House Speaker Dennis O'Brien (R-169th) joined state health officials and breast cancer survivors and advocates from the Philadelphia Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R) at a public forum this morning to call for policies to close the gaps in access to quality care that cause low-income women, women of color and underinsured women to die from breast cancer more often.


"Pennsylvania has been hit hard by breast cancer, and unfortunately, low-income and minority women have been hit the hardest," said Elaine I. Grobman, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. "The policies in place now are simply not enough -- more than 2,000 women in Pennsylvania will die of breast cancer this year. It is time to increase our investment in the women of this state, so that all women have access to life-saving early detection and treatment."

The forum, moderated by Pat Ciarrocchi of CBS 3 Eyewitness News, featured a panel of policymakers, healthcare providers and breast cancer survivors who discussed the challenges and policy solutions that will get Komen closer to its goal of ensuring that every woman in the state will receive access to screening and quality breast health care.

Low- and moderate-income women in Pennsylvania who are either uninsured or underinsured are eligible for free breast and cervical early detection services through the Pennsylvania HealthyWoman Program (HWP). However, due to inadequate funding, the HWP is only able to serve approximately 12,000 of the more than 110,000 women who are eligible each year. At the forum, Komen for the Cure activists called on state policymakers to increase funding for FY2009 by $1 million, which would allow the program to serve an additional 4,000 women.

The hard facts were made clear throughout the event: more than 9,400 women in Pennsylvania will be diagnosed with breast cancer and nearly 2,200 will die this year alone. Nationally, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Tragically, low-income, minority and uninsured women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer after it has already spread beyond the breast, reducing their chances of long-term survival.

Health care advisors from both presidential campaigns -- Dianne Kube representing McCain-Palin and Rebekah Gee, M.D., representing Obama-Biden -- also participated in the event, explaining how their respective candidates would close the gaps in the health care system to ensure every woman has access to early detection and high quality treatment for breast cancer.

"Healthcare policy is a key deciding factor for thousands of Pennsylvanians who will go to the polls to elect our next president," said Grobman. "We are pleased that representatives from both the Obama and McCain campaigns were here today to empower us to be informed voters. We value the education they provided on how their candidates would address the tragic disparities in access to care that exist both in our state and nationally."

Today's event marked the 22nd stop of the Komen Community Challenge, a nationwide campaign to elevate breast cancer on the national agenda and draw attention to disparities in breast cancer mortality.

About the Philadelphia Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Formed in 2001, the Philadelphia Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure embraces a 13-county service area including: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Philadelphia and York Counties in Pennsylvania; Kent, New Castle and Sussex Counties in Delaware; and Camden County, New Jersey. Through annual events such as the Komen Philadelphia Race for the Cure(R) and the Komen Philadelphia Pink Tie Ball(R), the Komen Philadelphia Affiliate is able to fund yearly, free outreach programs specified for a diversity of communities, other special awareness initiatives and distribute grants to area organizations. In the 2008-2009 season, the Affiliate invested $2.58 million in the form of grants to local organizations for their breast health and breast cancer awareness projects.

About Susan G. Komen for the Cure

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 for the Cure and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen for the Cure 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 nearly $1 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world. For more information about Susan G. Komen for the Cure, breast health or breast cancer, visit or call 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636).

SOURCE Susan G. Komen for the Cure
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