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Fighting Breast Cancer On a Global Scale

  • Nijiba Khalil

Each year more than one million women worldwide are diagnosed with breast cancer. To better battle the disease on a global scale, an international conference will be held in Budapest, Hungary in September to share strategies on raising awareness.
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization, an advocacy group that is leading the effort to educate people worldwide about breast cancer, is organizing the summit. VOA's Nijiba Khalil recently caught up with leaders of the group at a rally in Washington DC to learn more about the group's efforts. Jim Bertel narrates.

Each June, cities across the U.S. are treated to a parade of pink as breast cancer survivors and supporters gather in the Komen Race for the Cure. These popular events across the country have helped the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization raise money to fight the deadly disease.

The group was founded in 1982 when Nancy Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever.

"We are the largest funder of breast cancer research other than the government," she explains. "We have given in the last 25 years almost $1 billion to research, education, screening projects and in communities. But our job is also to educate and to continue to fund this effort until we get to the end of the trail here, until we eradicate this disease from the face of the earth."

This year the foundation also launched their annual "Close the Gap" campaign, an effort to close the funding gap that Brinker says keeps thousands of women from receiving treatment in the U.S.

Supporters, including Senator Mary Landrieu, an opposition Democrat from Louisiana, called on the U.S. government to do more. "So even though the government of the United States has contributed more, we're not contributing nearly what we need to, to be able to fund really extensive research and training. So we hope, by rallies like this and lending our voice, that we can push Congress and push states to do more.

And doing more to raise awareness and improve prevention is the goal of the Komen foundation's upcoming "Ignite the Promise: Global Advocate Summit" in Budapest later this year. The event will bring together breast cancer activists from five continents [Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America] to share strategies for educating their communities about the disease. The conference is scheduled for late September.

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