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Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R) Calls on Policymakers to Address Unfairness in Breast Cancer Incidence and Mortality

Massachusetts Joins Nationwide Campaign to Close the Gaps that Make Breast

Cancer Deadlier for Low-Income Women and Women of Color

BOSTON, April 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, more than 100 breast cancer survivors and advocates from the Massachusetts Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R), joined Massachusetts State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson (D-2nd Sufflolk), State Rep. Peter Koutoujian (D-10th Middlesex) and breast health officials at the State House to call for policies to close the gaps in research, public policy and access to quality care that cause some women to die of the disease more than others.


This year, more than 4,200 Massachusetts women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and nearly 900 will die. At a legislative luncheon moderated by former Massachusetts State Treasurer Shannon O'Brien, Komen representatives called on the state legislature to expand funding and broaden services for the Massachusetts Women's Health Network, the public health program which provides screening, patient navigation and treatment for income-eligible, uninsured or underinsured women.

"Massachusetts has been hit hard by breast cancer. Unfortunately, low-income and minority women have been hit the hardest," said Miriam May, executive director of the Massachusetts Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. "Early detection of breast cancer is key to survival, and the Women's Health Network serves women who would not otherwise be screened and treated -- saving an untold number of lives. The State needs to support and expand this program until every eligible woman in our state receives the breast cancer services she needs."

Following the luncheon, survivors and advocates from communities across Massachusetts visited the offices of their state legislators and requested a commitment of:

-- $6 million for the Women's Health Network in the upcoming 2009 budget

(this matches the Governor's budget recommendation currently before the

legislature and represents a $300,000 increase over 2008); and

-- $1 million in funds to establish a new state Office of Health Equity,

which will streamline state agencies' efforts to eliminate health

disparities, as outlined in House bill 2234.

Increased funding for the Women's Health Network will help expand its patient navigator program, which matches patients with caregivers who help them navigate the health care maze and overcome language, cultural, income and other barriers that often prevent women from getting the best possible treatment.

One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Low-income and uninsured women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer after it has already spread beyond the breast, which is partly why their survival rates are much lower.

The luncheon program featured a panel of policymakers, healthcare providers, patient navigators and breast cancer survivors and marked the 20th 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 Massachusetts Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R)

Susan G. Komen for the Cure's Massachusetts Affiliate is committed to 100 percent screening and 100 percent access to care. Until there is a cure, education, screening and treatment are the best tools we have to reduce mortality from breast cancer. We are focused on meeting the needs of the underserved and the uninsured of Massachusetts. More than 75 percent of the net funds raised by the Massachusetts Affiliate remain in the community to fund breast cancer health programs. The remaining 25 percent of net funds raised support Komen's national Grants Program, which funds groundbreaking breast cancer research. We are on a mission to end breast cancer forever. Join us at our signature event, the Komen Massachusetts Race for the Cure(R), on Sept. 7, 2008 at UMASS Boston. Register today at

About Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R)

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 more than $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
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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