History

Fulfilling the Promise

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $889 million in research and provided $1.95 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs serving millions of people in more than 30 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life.

Progress in the Fight Against Breast Cancer 

Since 1982, Komen has played a critical role in every major advance in the fight against breast cancer – transforming how the world talks about and treats this disease and helping to turn millions of breast cancer patients into breast cancer survivors. We are proud of our contribution to some real victories:

  • More early detection and effective treatment– Currently, about 70 percent of women 40 and older receive regular mammograms, the single most effective screening tool to find breast cancer early.  Since 1990, early detection and effective treatment have resulted in a 34 percent decline in breast cancer mortality in the U.S.
  • More hope –In 1980, the 5-year relative survival rate for women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer (cancer confined to the breast) was about 74 percent. Today, that number is 99 percent.
  • More research – The federal government now devotes more than $850 million each year to breast cancer research, treatment and prevention (compared to $30 million in 1982).
  • More survivors – Currently, there are over 3 million breast cancers survivors, the largest group of cancer survivors in the U.S.