Dec 18, 2017
Nancy Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer. In 1982, the organization that bears Suzy’s name was founded, and that promise became a promise to all women and men facing breast cancer. Since then, Susan G. Komen® has become one of the most recognizable leaders in the breast cancer space, funding more than $956 million in research and more than $2.1 billion in community programs that provide medical care, community and provider education, and psychosocial support for patients with breast cancer.
2017 marked a milestone 35th anniversary for Komen, which is one of the longest standing partners of ASCO and ASCO's Conquer Cancer Foundation. Over the years, Komen’s support has had far-reaching impact extending to numerous ASCO and Conquer Cancer initiatives that address quality, access, and delivery of care for patients with breast cancer, breast cancer research, oncology workforce development, and the harnessing of big data. It has supported the work of more than 100 investigators, clinicians, and medical students across the United States and around the world. Now, with seasoned business executive and breast cancer survivor Paula Schneider joining as president and CEO of the organization, Komen is poised for continued growth.
Highlights of ASCO and Conquer Cancer initiatives that Komen has supported since 1999 include:
• The National Initiative on Cancer Care Quality (1999 to 2002) was developed in response to a 1999 report from the National Cancer Policy Board that raised concerns about the quality of cancer care provided across the U.S. This first-ever national study on cancer care quality in the U.S. was commissioned by ASCO, conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and the RAND Corporation, and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2004.
• Through the Susan G. Komen/Conquer Cancer Foundation Collaborative Commitment, launched in 2008, Komen invested $10 million over 4 years to positively impact the quality of cancer care in the U.S., with general applicability in the breast cancer arena. The initiative supported projects that addressed disparities in cancer care, access to care, and quality issues; increased awareness of clinical trials; and fostered a sustainable oncology workforce and quality survivorship.
• Spanning from 2010 to 2016, the Susan G. Komen/Conquer Cancer Foundation Research Initiative was a multi-grant program encouraging multidisciplinary research. Grants of $1.5 million each were awarded for three distinct projects: Improving the Care of Young Women with Breast Cancer (2010; principal investigator: Anne Partridge, MD, MPH, FASCO); Chartrounds: Linking Community Oncologists to Disease Site Specialists (2010; principal investigator: Patricia H. Hardenbergh, MD); and Text Messaging to Reduce Early Discontinuation of Adjuvant Hormonal Therapy in Breast Cancer: Randomized Trial (2011; principal investigator: Alfred I. Neugut, MD, PhD).
• Komen provided $1 million in 2013 to support the breast cancer prototype for CancerLinQ®, which allowed ASCO to establish the proof of concept needed for the development of the full health technology platform. In 2015, Komen provided a second $1 million grant over 2 years in support of system components of CancerLinQ with applicability to breast cancer.
• Komen invested in the Conquer Cancer Foundation Grants & Awards program by providing support for 15 Young Investigator Awards, one Career Development Award, four International Development and Education Awards, and several Merit Awards.
At the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting, ASCO and Conquer Cancer hosted a breakfast meeting to honor Komen’s 35th anniversary milestone and review outcomes of the work made possible through the partnership between the three organizations.
“In laboratories and across communities, Komen’s 18-year partnership with ASCO and the Conquer Cancer Foundation is making a huge difference in the lives of people facing breast cancer,” said Ms. Schneider. “Together, we’ve advanced breast cancer research while helping hundreds of thousands of people in the communities we serve. We’re very pleased to celebrate another year of collaboration and partnership in our mutual mission to end suffering from breast cancer.”
ASCO and Conquer Cancer CEO Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO, said, “Every single thing ASCO does is directed at helping our members develop and deliver ever higher quality of care. Komen has shared our drive and vision and has been a remarkable and steady partner in this quest. Their support has made better care possible around the world!”