Susan G. Komen and Breast Cancer: The Beauty of Pain

At age 33, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Four years later, her battle against the relentless disease ended, but the fight for a cure was just beginning. For many, the name Susan G. Komen is synonymous with courage, hope, faith – hero. Her legacy continues to save lives and help bring the world closer to ending breast cancer forever.

The story of Susan G. Komen and Nancy G. Brinker is one of promise and purpose.  After losing her younger sister to breast cancer, Brinker solemnly pledged that she would end the horrible condition. In 1982, Brinker founded a nonprofit organization to support her heart’s mission. Thirty years later, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has become a leading force in the crusade to end breast cancer. Brinker’s organization has literally made strides toward fulfilling that sacred vow with its international event, Race for the Cure—the world’s largest fundraising event for breast cancer education and research. Every year, countless volunteers convene from all corners of the world to combat the tragic consequences of this malignant disease and honor the memory of its victims.

But breast cancer isn’t something people volunteer to go through…it just happens. Nancy G. Brinker took what happened to her sister and turned it into an organized worldwide grassroots effort to find a cure for breast cancer before it robs more children of their mothers, husbands of their wives, parents of their daughters, and families of their sisters. She transformed pain into something beautiful. Susan G. Komen’s story preceded other stories of heartache, loss, triumph, agony, fear, survival, and death.

Types of Breast Cancer:

  • Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS)
  • Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
    • Triple negative breast cancer
    • Inflammatory breast cancer
    • Metastatic breast cancer
    • Medullary carcinoma
    • Mucinous carcinoma

-Information from National Breast Cancer Foundation

The facts are startling:

  • A woman loses her life to breast cancer every 13 minutes in the U.S.: every 74 seconds somewhere in the world.
  • An estimated 500,000 people die around the world from breast cancer every year.
  • About 2,190 cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among men in 2012 and 226,870 among women.
  • The most common cause of hereditary breast cancer is an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Inheriting a mutated copy of either gene from a parent, leads to a high risk of developing breast cancer during your lifetime.

-Information from American Cancer Society

Such statistics reflect the need for organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which pour millions into breast cancer research, screening, prevention, treatment, awareness campaigns, and more. From $200 and a shoebox of names to $685 million and a global network of supporters, Susan G. Komen for the Cure continues to grow in numbers, influence, and reach. Its impact is evident. Its cause is compelling. Its work is essential. The movement may bear the name of one brave woman, but it also embodies the tears and fears of those who have experienced breast cancer’s unmerciful grip. Above all, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is more than a name. What started out as two sisters in the struggle has created a global sisterhood where women can cry, laugh, hope—and most importantly, fight—together.


For more information:

Susan G. Komen for the Cure

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

American Cancer Society

Types of Breast Cancer

National Breast Cancer Early Detection Program