Susan G. Komen Hosts Global Women’s Cancer Summit on Feb. 4

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The first Susan G. Komen Global Women’s Cancer Summit takes place in Washington, DC, on World Cancer Day – Monday, Feb. 4. This inaugural summit brings together world leaders from governments, cancer organizations and the private sector to address the growing global women’s cancer crisis.

Throughout the day, world leaders in health and women’s cancers, experts in technology and innovation, government leaders from low- and middle-income countries, private philanthropic and industry leaders and nonprofit organizations will chart a new global campaign and call to action: “2.5 by 2025.” This goal aspires to enhance breast cancer outcomes, as measured by survival and quality of life, for at least 2.5 million women in low- and middle-income countries by the year 2025.

Here’s how you can be involved and informed on Monday, Feb. 4:

Access the live stream of the Summit and see how Komen’s investments in research, education and community outreach are making a difference internationally.

Join the conversation live on Twitter using the official event hashtag #GlobalCancerSummit and the accompanying hashtag #SGK.

View the Google live stream of the Online World Cancer Day Panel from 2-4 pm CT, featuring several Summit participants.

Watch and share this two-minute video to learn more about the growing epidemic of cancer in the developing world – and the “power of 1” to make a difference.

Komen St. Louis Community Partner: Mercy Hospital Washington’s Breast Health Navigator Program

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When women have an annual screening mammogram, the hope is for good news. But for those who learn they need further testing, the rest of the appointment can seem like a blur.

Thanks to funding from Komen St. Louis, women at Mercy Hospital Washington are guided through the process by a nurse navigator. The navigator facilitates tests, consultations and treatment; locates support services; and maintains contact throughout treatment.

“I am introduced to a patient when it is determined that she needs additional testing or a surgical consultation,” says Debbie Vietmeier, breast health navigator for Mercy Hospital Washington. “Before she leaves, I make contact with her doctor, schedule any biopsy procedure and/or make an appointment with a surgeon, and she leaves with a plan of action.”

This program can help women increase compliance with treatment plans and reduce wait times between diagnosis and treatment, which can enhance chances of survival and improve quality of life. This is the fourth year of Komen St. Louis funding for this program.

“I give women not-so-happy news and yet I often get a hug at the end of the consultation,” says Debbie. “They are thankful to leave with a plan instead of worrying about which doctor to call first.”

Along with helping patients navigate the health care system, Debbie also offers assistance with travel and mammograms, thanks to Komen St. Louis.

“Travel can be a barrier to providing care if a patient cannot afford the cost of gas. When that happens, I am able to provide a Komen St. Louis-funded gas card to help that patient make it in for a mammogram or follow-up treatment,” says Debbie. “The Komen money we receive allows us to help women in our community.”

In 2012, Komen St. Louis granted nearly $3.1 million to 25 local breast health programs in our 17-county Missouri/Illinois service area, including the Breast Health Navigator Program at Mercy Hospital Washington. These grants help fund breast health and breast cancer screening, treatment, education and support services for those in our community who otherwise may not have access due to low income, lack of insurance or other barriers.

Breast Cancer Science for Non-Scientists

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State-of-the-art breast cancer research is happening right now, right here in St. Louis.

We invite you to learn a bit about this research at a free educational event on Monday evening, Feb. 11. Find out how whole-genome sequencing of breast cancer is helping to identify opportunities for precise diagnostics and targeted therapy. It sounds science-y, but this presentation is designed for those of us who aren’t necessarily scientifically savvy.

Komen St. Louis and Cancer Support Community of Greater St. Louis are hosting the event in collaboration with Washington University researchers and St. Luke’s Hospital. We’re calling it “Updates in Breast Cancer Genomics: The Breast Cancer Landscape.”

Featured speaker Dr. Matthew Ellis, of Washington University and Siteman Cancer Center, is a Komen Promise Grant recipient. He’ll be joined by Dr. Chris Maher of the Genome Institute at Washington University.

Updates in Breast Cancer Genomics: The Breast Cancer Landscape | Monday, Feb. 11 | 6:30-8 pm | St. Luke’s Hospital Emerson Auditorium

Register online at http://www.cancersupportstl.org or call 314.238.2000.

Komen St. Louis Community Partner: SLU Cancer Center’s Educating Women About Hereditary Risk for Developing Breast Cancer

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A woman who discovers she is at risk for developing breast cancer may wonder if someone else in her family is also at risk. That very thought can help save a life.

An estimated 10 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a hereditary predisposition to the disease and are at substantial risk for a second breast cancer; 50 percent of their first-degree relatives also carry a very high risk (92%) for developing early onset breast cancer.

“People need to understand what that risk is,” says Suzanne Mahon, RN, DNSc, AOCN, founder of the Hereditary Cancer Program at Saint Louis University Cancer Center. “Our goal is to provide a good risk assessment, appropriate counseling and coordinated care for the family.”

Through the Educating Women About Hereditary Risk for Developing Breast Cancer program, Mahon provides women who have an inherited predisposition — and their families — with the support and care they need.

The program educates patients about their breast cancer risks through a comprehensive family history review and, when appropriate, genetic testing. This education and counseling addresses the potential risks, benefits and ramifications of genetic testing as well as recommendations for early detection and prevention through strategies such as prophylactic surgery.

“We saw 212 families in the last calendar year,” says Mahon. “If one member of the family tests positive, then I’m going to see the sister or daughter or aunt as well.”

Funding from Komen St. Louis makes the program available to families who may not otherwise have access. This is the 11th year of Komen St. Louis funding for this program.

“We are just thrilled that Komen St. Louis funding has allowed us to have this program,” says Mahon. “It’s good for Komen because they know if we see someone and they need testing, we’re going to get it done.”

In 2012, Komen St. Louis granted nearly $3.1 million to 25 local breast health programs in our 17-county Missouri/Illinois service area, including the Educating Women About Hereditary Risk for Breast Cancer program at Saint Louis University Cancer Center. These grants help fund breast health and breast cancer screening, treatment, education and support services for those in our community who otherwise may not have access due to low income, lack of insurance or other barriers.

150 Days

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In 150 days, on June 15, our community will come together for the 15th Annual Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure.

In 2013, we’re celebrating 15 Years of Hope, Inspiration and Impact.

15 Years of HOPE: Komen St. Louis funding has supported dozens of local organizations providing breast health services to those who may not otherwise have access.

15 Years of INSPIRATION: Since our inaugural Komen St. Louis Race in 1999, more than 715,000 participants have raced with a mission to save lives and end breast cancer forever.

15 Years of IMPACT: Komen St. Louis and its supporters have raised more than $26 million for the fight against breast cancer.

Join us for our 15th Race on the 15th of June.

Komen St. Louis Community Partner: Food Outreach’s Nutritional Support for Low-Income African-American Breast Cancer Patients

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As any breast cancer survivor will tell you, maintaining proper nutrition during treatment is paramount.

Thanks to grant funding from Komen St. Louis, Food Outreach provides comprehensive nutritional support to help low-income, African-American breast cancer patients maintain strength, cope with side effects and optimize treatments. These patients access a tailored nutrition program, which is a powerful tool in their disease management.

Food Outreach’s breast cancer clients receive freshly prepared frozen meals, groceries and nutritional counseling. Food Outreach dietitians meet with each client for a nutritional status assessment and nutrition counseling, and recommend an eating plan based on assessment results, treatments and secondary illnesses. The dietitians and the organization’s chef develop menus targeting clients’ specific nutrition needs.

“A breast cancer client once told me during her treatment that our program was ‘the difference between eating well and not eating at all’,” says Greg Lukeman, Food Outreach Executive Director. “Since receiving Komen St. Louis grants beginning in 2007, we have never had a waiting list for our breast cancer clients.”

The services Food Outreach provides are not typically available through traditional food pantries and are often otherwise inaccessible due to clients’ limited financial resources.

“Our clients are the working poor or those who are experiencing a significant drop in income by missing work days due to their illness, as well as those who have experienced poverty most of their lives,” says Karin Moody, Food Outreach Community Affairs Officer.

Since 2007, Komen St. Louis funding has provided more than 125,653 nutritiously tailored meals and groceries, combined with nutrition counseling and education, to more than 270 low-income breast cancer patients residing in St. Louis City and surrounding counties in Missouri and Illinois.

“Support from Komen St. Louis enables us to provide critical nutritional support to low-income breast cancer clients who would not otherwise have access to the nutritious food that helps them maintain their strength during treatment, cope with chemotherapy side effects and rebuild tissue damaged from surgery and radiation,” says Karin. “Komen funding has made an incredible impact on the lives of Food Outreach’s breast cancer clients.”

During this sixth year of Komen St. Louis funding, Food Outreach will provide 42,630 nutritious meals to breast cancer patients. That is a lot of love and hope in the form of a good meal for those fighting breast cancer.

In 2012, Komen St. Louis granted nearly $3.1 million to 25 local breast health programs in our 17-county Missouri/Illinois service area, including the Nutritional Support for Low-Income African-American Breast Cancer Patients program at Food Outreach. These grants help fund breast health and breast cancer screening, treatment, education and support services for those in our community who otherwise may not have access due to low income, lack of insurance or other barriers.

What Komen St. Louis Means to Me

Guest Writer: Susan Kraenzle, Breast Health Center Manager at Barnes-Jewish Hospital

Every family has one…the “bossy” one. Ours was Joanie.

Of our eight sisters, she was the tomboy. She ran fast, jumped high and had a killer spike serve. She had a husband, three kids, eleven brothers and sisters and tons of friends. Joanie was 42 when she died from breast cancer. It’s been fifteen years. We miss her every day.

Joanie_SusanAs I said, she was bossy. That really is the only explanation for where my career has led me…she “put” me here somehow.

I became a nurse to take care of babies. Shortly after my sister died, our family moved to a rural location, and I accepted a position as manager of a new Women’s Health Center at the local hospital. We didn’t have much funding for the Resource Center I wanted to develop. After seeing the Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure, I made a call to our Komen Affiliate to request support for breast health materials. I had one week to submit a grant.

That’s when I learned the story of Suzy Komen and her sister. I read of Nancy Brinker’s Promise and got goose bumps. I knew how it felt to watch a sister die. I’m not sure how long I cried. Then I wiped my tears, blew my nose, and started writing. I am certain that Joanie smiled when my grant was funded.

That grant was my first experience with Komen St. Louis, and I have been involved with the “breast health world” ever since. In 2004, I became the manager of the Breast Health Center at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. At that time, our outreach program provided care to about 400 underserved women. In these past eight years, it has grown to be the largest program of its kind in Missouri. We care for thousands of women every year…women we reach because of the funding we receive from Komen.

I am honored every day of my life to care for women in the city that Joanie called home. Every June, at our Race, I find a quiet place to remember my sister and cry just a bit. Then, I get back to work. It’s what Joanie wants me to do. She was the bossy one.