Be Bold. Be Fearless. Be Generous.


Susan G. Komen® Missouri is an independent, local nonprofit organization dedicated to meeting the breast health needs of the women, men and families most at risk and most in need in our 38-county Missouri/Illinois service area.

This past year, Komen Missouri grant funding helped provide more than 23,789 screening and patient support services for individuals in our community who otherwise may not have had access.

Through your donation, we can continue to strengthen our investment in the local fight against breast cancer.

Eighty-one cents of every $1 raised enables Komen Missouri to grant funds for life-saving local breast cancer screening, breast health education and patient support services plus cutting-edge global breast cancer research.

508 women lost their lives to breast cancer in Missouri last year. Your $100 gift could fund a life-saving mammogram this year.

Be Bold. Be Fearless. Be Generous. Every dollar makes an impact.

Please contribute to our 2016 Holiday Giving Campaign today.

Thank you for your support!



Breast Cancer Survivorship: Post-Diagnosis/Screening and Recurrence

bc-survivorship-mtp-pinkBreast cancer survivors have an increased risk of getting a new breast cancer compared to those who have never had breast cancer. That is why it is important to get the follow-up care your doctor recommends. With proper follow-up, your doctor can keep track of how you are doing. This includes checking for and treating side effects. Follow-up care can also help ensure any recurrence of breast cancer can be found early when treatment is most effective.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network offers these guidelines for follow-up of breast cancer treatment:

  1. Have a mammogram every 12 months (for women treated with mastectomy). (For women treated with lumpectomy, have a mammogram six months after radiation therapy ends, then every 12 months.)
  1. Have a physical exam 1-4 times a year (depending on your situation) for 5 years, then every 12 months.
  1. Have a pelvic exam every 12 months.
  1. Have a bone health exam every one to two years, depending on a person’s risk factors.

Follow-up Tests

Depending on the symptoms, blood tests (including tumor marker tests) and imaging tests (including bone scans, CT scans, PET scans and chest X-rays) may be used to check for metastases. Using these tests to check for early metastases in people with no symptoms of metastases does not increase survival. For people with no symptoms of metastases, blood and imaging tests (other than mammography) are not a standard part of follow-up care.

Learn more about medical care after breast cancer treatment:

Understanding Breast Cancer Risk Factors: Menopausal Hormone Use

bc-risk-mtp-pinkIn the past, many women used menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), also known as hormone replacement therapy, to relieve hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. But studies show that use of estrogen plus progestin increases the risk of both developing and dying from breast cancer. Although MHT is approved for the short-term relief of menopausal symptoms, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends women use only the lowest dose that eases symptoms for the shortest time needed.

When women take these hormones (estrogen plus progestin), their risk of having an abnormal mammogram increases within the first year of use and their risk of breast cancer increases within the first five years of use. The risk of breast cancer goes up slightly each year a woman takes estrogen plus progestin. One large study found women who use estrogen plus progestin for five or more years (and are still taking it) more than double their breast cancer risk.

When women stop taking MHT, the risk of breast cancer starts to decline. After about 5 to 10 years, the risk returns to that of a woman who has never used MHT.

Learn more:

Sign Up for an Annual Reminder

bc-education-mtp-pinkTake charge of your health and sign up to receive a mammogram and/or clinical breast exam reminder.

Just complete this simple form, and each year on the date you choose, you will receive a reminder to schedule your mammogram or clinical breast exam.

By taking this simple step, you may lower your risk of dying from breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Education: Mammograms

bc-education-mtp-pinkMammography is a screening tool that uses X-rays to create images of the breast. These images, called mammograms, are used to find early signs of breast cancer such as a dense mass or clusters of calcium.

Overall, mammography is the best screening tool for breast cancer used today for most women. It can find cancers at an early stage, when they are small (too small to be felt) and the chances of survival are highest.

Screening guidelines for people at average risk vary. Visit to see the breast cancer screening recommendations for women at average risk from three major health organizations.

Women who are at a higher risk of breast cancer should speak with a doctor about when and how often they should get screened. Some women ages 70 and older who are in poor health may stop regular screening. Susan G. Komen believes that women who are in good health and could benefit from treatment (if breast cancer were found) should continue to get mammograms.

At any age, if there is any question about whether you should have a mammogram, talk with a doctor.

Learn more: and

Breast Cancer Education: Clinical Breast Exam

bc-education-mtp-pinkA clinical breast exam (CBE) is a physical exam done by a health care provider as part of your regular medical check-up. Your provider should carefully feel your breasts and underarms for any changes or abnormalities (such as a lump). He/she should visually check your breasts while you are sitting up and physically examine your breasts while you are lying down. If a CBE is not offered at your check-up and you would like one, ask your provider if he or she can perform one (or refer you to someone who can).

If you are 20-39 years old, get a CBE at least every three years. If you are 40 or older, have your mammogram close to the time of your CBE. In women ages 40 and older, CBE combined with mammography may find more cancers than mammography alone. When used together at yearly check-ups, fewer breast cancers are missed. However, whereas CBE is an important complement to mammography, it is not a substitute for mammograms in women 40 and older.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends that men at higher risk of breast cancer have a clinical breast exam every six to 12 months, starting at age 35. Women who are at a higher risk of breast cancer should speak with their doctor about when and how often they should get screened.

Learn more:

Komen Missouri Community Partner: Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation’s START NOW Program


Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation’s START NOW Breast Cancer Awareness Services works to help provide care for patients who are living with breast cancer and women who are unsure of their breast health status. The START NOW team works directly with medical providers, surgeons, oncologists and mental health workers. The team also works in the community, spreading awareness and educating the more at-risk population.

Grant funding from Susan G. Komen Missouri is the main source of financial funding for START NOW.  The Komen Missouri grant for the START NOW program gives financial assistance to women without insurance, and allows women to receive annual clinical breast exams and mammograms. The grant provides staffing of navigators, transportation and gas cards to help women keep their appointments.

Debra Custer is the program manager and a treatment navigator for the START NOW Program. Debra has been working with START NOW since April 2008.  As program manager, her role is to, “ensure that the day-to-day functions and activities are meeting all the grant requirements, continue to build and strengthen our community partners, and find new community partners to enhance our network circle.”

As a treatment navigator, Debra is responsible for overseeing all of the women who receive an abnormal mammogram and women who receive a benign or positive result for breast cancer. “I work to reduce or eliminate any barriers related to breast care promptly and try to empower [patients] to take a more proactive approach to their overall health needs.” 

Debra describes the treatment navigator role as a “supportive resource” who helps with financial assistance and emotional and mental health issues related to coping with a breast cancer diagnosis.

Debra recalls a patient story that has affected her throughout her years working with START NOW.  A patient was referred to START NOW because she needed a diagnostic mammogram and did not have a way to pay for the service.  This patient’s medical provider called Debra because the patient had a breast mass and needed additional appointments and services.

The patient visited Debra’s office and Debra consoled her. Debra helped the patient apply for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, and contacted the local IBCCP agency for approval and to schedule an exam for the patient.  The diagnostic mammogram came back suspicious for malignancy and the patient was recommended to have a biopsy.  Debra helped the patient schedule an appointment with a surgeon.

The biopsy came back positive for breast cancer, and Debra helped the patient complete another application so that she could continue her treatment.  “Her postoperative treatment following the radical mastectomy was without incident and proceeded with reconstructive breast surgery.  After reconstructive breast surgery, the oncologist recommended radiation treatment on the right breast.”  The patient completed her treatment regimen, and seven years later remains cancer free.  The patient told Debra, “I can’t stop thanking you enough for being what I needed when I needed it.”

Susan G. Komen Missouri’s community grants help fund local breast cancer screening, breast health education and patient navigation and support services for those in our community who otherwise may not have access due to low income, lack of insurance or other barriers.