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.

Komen Missouri Community Partner: SSM Breast Care: Empowering and Engaging Women


Susan G. Komen Missouri community-grant funding allows SSM Health Care’s SSM Breast Care: Empowering and Engaging Women program to provide care to patients who are low income and underinsured. Funding from Komen Missouri also helps the program aid male patients, who are often overlooked.

The Nurse Navigators and Project Coordinator for SSM Breast Care help patients through different types of care, including screening mammograms, diagnostic mammograms and breast health services and consultations.

“It takes a team to make SSM Breast Care successful,” says Tammy Hamma, project director. “Each of our roles plays an integral part in making this program possible.”

Tammy says she has a “direct responsibility to Susan G. Komen Missouri to ensure we are being good stewards of the funds we are given and that we are meeting the goals for the year. This program enables us to spread the inspiring Komen story and to emphasize the vital importance of annual screening mammograms in order to aid in early detection.”

The program educates women in the community to be their own greatest advocates for breast health.

Tammy recalls a young woman in St. Charles County with no insurance who was cared for recently by an SSM Breast Care Nurse Navigator. This young woman was caring for her mother, a Komen Missouri-funded patient battling breast cancer. In her mother’s final days, the young woman discovered a breast lump and promised her mother she would have it checked. The day after her mother’s funeral, the daughter called a Nurse Navigator at SSM Breast Care and received help and guidance through diagnostic procedures.

Fortunately for this young woman, the lump was benign, and she is now on a high-risk screening schedule to detect any other issues early.

“SSM Health Care has had the privilege of being partners with Susan G. Komen Missouri for 14 years,” says Tammy.

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.

Komen Missouri Community Partner: Mercy Health Foundation of St. Louis’ Breast Cancer Screening and Education Program


The Breast Cancer Screening and Education Program at Mercy Health Foundation of St. Louis works with community agencies to help identify and schedule uninsured and underinsured, low-income women for breast screenings.

The program provides free mammograms and clinical breast exams, and educates about breast self-awareness at Mercy Breast Centers and in local communities through a mammography van. During screening events, a Nurse Navigator/Nurse Practitioner provides clinical breast exams, educates and provides care.

Angela Ruppel, the program’s project director and manager, explains that Susan G. Komen Missouri, “provides funding for mammograms and breast health services, clinical breast exams, breast self-awareness education and the availability of a mammography van and Nurse Navigators/Nurse Practitioners to assist and coordinate care for the uninsured and underinsured women in the community.”

Angela recalls a patient referred to the program who was “an uninsured 33-year old…single mom raising two children, working part time and going to school full time.”

The patient discovered a lump and was scheduled for a breast exam by Nurse Navigators/Nurse Practitioners, and then had a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound.

“Due to this program and generous funds from Komen Missouri, the patient was able to have her diagnostic testing completed, which showed two solid masses,” says Angela.

The patient was scheduled for a consultation and had a breast biopsy. She was positive for invasive ductal carcinoma, underwent a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction. Angela says this woman “now has continued with her schooling and has hope for the future for both her and her family.”

This is the 13th year of Komen Missouri funding for this program.

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.

Statement from Susan G. Komen®: Women and Healthcare Providers Should Have the Final Say on Mammogram Schedules

Susan G. Komen® shared this statement regarding breast cancer screening:

Komen Renews Concern over Task Force Proposal to Raise Routine Mammography Age

DALLAS – Jan. 11, 2016 – The leader of the world’s largest breast cancer organization says women and their doctors should be the final decision-makers when it comes to breast cancer screening, and that screening tests, if recommended by a healthcare provider, should be covered by insurers and government regardless of a woman’s age.

The comments from Susan G. Komen President and CEO Dr. Judy Salerno came in response to U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations, issued today, that would raise the recommended age for the start of routine mammograms from 40 to 50 for women of average risk. USPSTF issued similar recommendations in 2009.

These latest recommendations would not be implemented immediately due to a two-year moratorium imposed by Congress.

Nevertheless, Salerno said Komen is concerned that these recommendations could effectively bar access to screenings for millions of women under 50 because third party payers often use USPSTF recommendations to decide whether they will pay for certain tests.

“A lack of coverage would be most harshly felt in high-risk and underserved populations,” she said, “African-American women, for example, are often diagnosed at younger ages with aggressive forms of breast cancer – and die of breast cancer at rates over 40 percent higher than white women. Screening at younger ages is a critical tool for these women.”

“The medical field is moving toward determining individual needs for screening based on a woman’s risk,” she said. “Rather than establishing higher age-based standards that create potential barriers to care, women should be able to make informed decisions about breast cancer screening, develop a schedule that is right for them with their healthcare provider, and be assured that the screenings they need will be paid for.”

Salerno encouraged increased investment in research to develop better screening tools. Komen has funded more than $33 million to find more precise early detection methods such as blood and tissue tests. “Until those are available, mammograms are the most widely available and cost effective test that we have, and women and their healthcare providers should have access to them,” she said. Information about breast cancer risk is available on