The Race Goes On!

Race_PostRace_banner_photo_2014Just one month ago, tens of thousands of people came together to Race for a World Without Breast Cancer at the 2014 Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure.

You can still make an impact in the local fight against breast cancer through post-Race registrations, donations and fundraising through July 31, 2014.

The more money raised means more mammograms, breast health education and breast cancer patient navigation in the greater St. Louis region.

With your help, we can help more individuals in our community gain access to quality breast health care.

Register, make a donation or fundraise to support the 2014 Komen St. Louis Race.

Give Back on Giving Tuesday

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“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

– Winston Churchill

You’ve made it through Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Welcome to Giving Tuesday, the second annual national day of charitable giving.

We invite you to give back to Komen St. Louis and help ensure all women in our community have access to quality breast health services.

Please consider making a one-time or monthly donation today.

Our goal is to raise $20,000 this holiday season. This amount could help fund screening mammograms for 200 uninsured women in our community.

Your donation to Komen St. Louis will make a direct impact in our 17-county Missouri/Illinois service area.

Thank you for giving back on Giving Tuesday. Thank you for supporting our mission to save lives and end breast cancer forever!

 

Komen St. Louis Community Partner: Betty Jean Kerr People’s Health Centers’ People’s Sister Connection Program

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Betty Jean Kerr People’s Health Centers has been a Susan G. Komen St. Louis grant recipient for 11 years. Through this funding, BJK People’s Health Centers is able to support its People’s Sister Connection (PSC) program. Women, specifically African-American women ages 40-49, receive the breast health care they need and deserve to fight breast cancer by taking part in this program.

“Research surveys show our target population is the medically underserved and/or uninsured,” says Claudine Robinson, PSC Program Project Manager. “This funding makes it possible to provide this population with services including breast health education, clinical breast exams and screening mammograms.”

With a goal of serving more than 2,700 women, those involved with the PSC program have been able to witness the effect that access to breast health care has had on their patients.

“I can think of many memorable moments,” says Claudine, “but one that sticks out vividly is one lady who was so appreciative of being able to receive her mammogram, she began to cry as she shared that she stopped getting her mammograms because she lost her job and she just could not afford health insurance.”

Claudine recalls another memorable moment: “A patient was diagnosed with breast cancer in March. She had no insurance and was unsure about how she was going to pay for and deal with the diagnosis. We provided coverage for her and she has had treatment and also had a mastectomy.”

These real-life cases undoubtedly encourage both those who are being helped and those who are doing the helping. Thanks to the Komen St. Louis grant, the PSC program can break down the walls that keep women from improving their breast health.

“Although BJK PHC finds there are many barriers that prevent women from accessing appropriate breast health care,” says Claudine, “with this Komen St. Louis funding the PSC program is successful in ensuring that eligible women have access to breast health services.”

In 2013, Komen St. Louis granted $2.2 million to 13 local breast health programs in our 17-county Missouri/Illinois service area, including Betty Jean Kerr People’s Health Centers’ People’s Sister Connection program. These grants help fund breast health and breast cancer screening, education and patient navigation services for those in our community who otherwise may not have access due to low income, lack of insurance or other barriers.

Komen-Funded Research: Seeking New Approaches for Early Detection

For more than three decades, a primary focus of the breast cancer movement has been increasing access to breast cancer screenings, particularly mammograms. After all, early detection puts a woman on a path to early treatment, which generally leads to better outcomes.

Locally, breast cancer screening is a key funding priority, as evident in the services provided by Komen St. Louis’ current community grant recipients.

This focus has paid off. Through a combination of increased early detection and improved, more personalized treatments, breast cancer mortality rates have dropped more than 30 percent since 1990.

Much of the progress we’ve made in attaining better outcomes is due both to our improved understanding of the family of diseases known as breast cancer, and the advances in how we treat them. Yet little, unfortunately, has changed in the way we detect breast cancer. If you visit the doctor’s office today for a regular breast health exam, for example, you’ll most likely be given a clinical breast examination and, if over 40 (or at a high risk of breast cancer), have a mammogram to “see” what can’t be felt.

While mammography is the best general screening tool we have available today, it is far from perfect and it hasn’t evolved much over the past three decades. We not only hope that will change, but we’re aggressively investing in research to make certain it does. That’s why this year Susan G. Komen is investing $2 million in two new studies that seek to change your annual breast exam with improved technology and methods that will provide a more accurate, sensitive and cost-effective means of early detection.

The first grant, led by Dr. Andrew Maidment from the University of Pennsylvania, hopes to reduce the likelihood of a call-back visit to your doctor due to a false positive or inconclusive result by better distinguishing a non-cancerous calcification or calcium deposit from a potentially serious tumor. Currently, calcifications or calcium deposits appear similar to a tumor on film or digital image. Dr. Maidment is seeking to improve imaging results by further refining an emerging imaging technology, called Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT). DBT can create a 3D image of the breast and has previously been shown to offer more comfort to the patient compared to conventional mammography. Yet, like mammography, today’s DBT technology cannot tell the difference between a tumor and calcifications. Through innovations to the technology, however, Dr. Maidment hopes to change that.

The other new study involves Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a non-invasive form of breast cancer that is still contained in the breast and has not yet spread. Many people have begun to argue that DCIS should not be treated as cancer, since it is non-invasive at this stage. However, DCIS can turn into invasive cancer over time, and doctors currently lack the ability to determine which DCIS growths will ultimately progress to invasive disease.

Drs. James Hicks and Jorge Reis-Filho, from Cold Harbor Springs Laboratory and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, hope to uncover the key to DCIS’s evolution into invasive cancer. Drs. Hicks and Reis-Filho’s study will approach this question by using rare patient samples that have DCIS and invasive breast cancer laying side by side in the same area of the breast. The researchers will then uncover any genetic changes that occurred between the DCIS mass and invasive cancer using cutting-edge DNA sequencing technology. If successful, the study will produce prognostic markers that will help doctors choose between conservative or aggressive treatment approaches to DCIS.

It is Komen’s hope that by developing cutting-edge imaging technologies, finding new prognostic markers, and supporting innovative scientists today, it will translate to improving tomorrow’s methods for early detection and widen available treatment approaches.

Since 1999, Susan G. Komen® St. Louis has contributed nearly $9 million to Komen’s national research grants. At the same time, more than $20 million raised locally and nationwide has come back to St. Louis facilities to fund breast cancer research. Read more about Komen’s 2013 research investment – including $1 million granted to St. Louis researchers – here.

Komen St. Louis Community Partner: St. Clair County Health Department’s Wellness for Women

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The St. Clair County Health Department has provided breast cancer screenings to women in the Metro East for more than a decade.

“We are proud to have helped so many women have the peace of mind of knowing they do not have breast cancer,” says Kathy Weisenstein, outreach and prevention manager at St. Clair County Health Department. “We are also proud that we have helped many women get their breast cancer diagnosed so they could begin to get the treatment they needed.”

St. Clair County’s Wellness for Women program works in conjunction with the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. During the current Komen St. Louis grant year, Wellness for Women is providing more than 200 screening mammograms for low-income, uninsured women and low-income women with high insurance deductibles. This is the 11th year of Komen St. Louis funding for St. Clair’s program.

“Our challenges have always been that we have to work within the constraints of our funding,” says Kathy. “In a perfect world, all women could get the screenings and treatment they need without the worry of how they will pay for it.”

While hundreds of screenings are done each year, more women need these services than can possibly be served.

“Komen St. Louis has been invaluable in getting the word out about the importance of breast cancer screenings,” says Kathy. “We always notice an increase in calls in June around the Race for the Cure and in October during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We value the funding from Komen St. Louis that allows us to provide more screenings to the women reaching out to us.”

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 St. Clair County Health Department’s Wellness for Women program. 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.

Komen St. Louis Community Partner: Jefferson Regional Medical Center’s Breast Health Awareness and Screening Program for Women in Rural Southeastern Missouri

 

Community Partner

Helping underserved women gain access to mammograms and, if necessary, treatment for breast cancer hits close to home for Anita McEntire. She is a Breast Health Navigator at Jefferson Regional Medical Center who also has had to navigate through the journey of breast cancer in her own life.

“I’m a five-year breast cancer survivor myself,” says Anita. “I was an uninsured mother of three, and it was a struggle. I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I’ve been through.”

Anita uses her personal experience to guide her as the Program Director of the Breast Health Awareness and Screening Program at Jefferson Regional. To promote breast health awareness and the early detection of breast cancer, this program provides comprehensive breast health education, screening and support for underserved, uninsured women in rural Jefferson, Perry, Ste. Genevieve and Washington counties.

“We provide clinical breast exams, diagnostic testing, imaging services, breast ultrasounds and biopsies for our patients,” says Anita.

Funding from Komen St. Louis makes these services available for women in need. This is the ninth year of Komen St. Louis funding for this program.

In just the last six months, the program has served more than 100 women. This accomplishment is evidence that women are in need of such a support system, to help with everything from screening mammograms, which aid in the early detection of breast cancer, to treatment after a breast cancer diagnosis. The program’s resources, combined with her own breast cancer experience, assist Anita in reaching women in rural southeastern Missouri.

“Our mission is in alignment with Komen’s mission,” says Anita. “We make sure women have access to breast health services.”

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 Jefferson Regional Medical Center’s Breast Health Awareness and Screening Program for Women in Rural Southeastern Missouri. 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.

 

12 Reasons to Support Komen St. Louis on 12.12.12 (and Every Day)

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1. When you support Komen St. Louis, you’re supporting 25 local organizations that deliver life-saving breast health services to women, men and families in our community.

2. We all know someone whose life has been touched by breast cancer – a loved one, a friend, a coworker.

3. Because of your support, last year Komen St. Louis funded more than 11,000 screening mammograms for women in our 17-county Missouri/Illinois service area who otherwise could not afford them.

4. Komen has granted more than $20 million to research facilities in St. Louis for groundbreaking breast cancer research.

5. Every 74 seconds, somewhere in the world, someone dies from breast cancer.

6. Komen St. Louis is here when you need breast health and breast cancer resources. If you need help paying for a mammogram, if you or someone you know is diagnosed with breast cancer…we’re only a phone call away (314.569.3900).

7. Last year, Komen St. Louis funded diagnostic services for more than 2,200 women in need.

8. More than 100 percent of the funds raised by Komen St. Louis since 1999 have come back to St. Louis.

9. 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.

10. Men get breast cancer, too. Approximately 2,190 new cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men this year in the U.S.

11. There are more than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors alive in the U.S. today.

12. There are still too many women and families in our community who need our help.

We know you have your own reasons for supporting the local fight against breast cancer. We can’t do this without you. Please Give Thanks and Give Back to Komen St. Louis today. We appreciate your support every day of the year. Thank you!