Announced as part of Komen's new effort to reduce breast cancer deaths by 50 percent over the ten years, the grant will fund efforts to address the high breast cancer mortality rate among African-American women, who are nearly 40 percent more likely to die of the disease than white women. The African-American Health Equity Initiative is aimed at closing that gap by 25 percent within five years in ten metropolitan areas where mortality rates and late-stage diagnosis of African-American women are highest — Memphis, St. Louis, Dallas, Los Angeles, Virginia Beach, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. In addition, Baltimore and Detroit have been identified as high-priority areas as the program expands.
"No longer should African-American women be more likely to die from a breast cancer diagnosis than others," said Fund II Foundation president Robert F. Smith. "Through this grant supporting Susan G. Komen, Fund II Foundation will help address these unfair disparities across our country."
The initiative also will work to advance research into new treatments for aggressive and metastatic disease and leverage next-generation technology that can detect breast cancer at its earliest stages to prevent recurrence and metastasis.
"We know that people die of breast cancer for two reasons: a lack of high-quality breast cancer care accessible to everyone, and a lack of treatments for the most aggressive and deadly forms of this disease," said Judith A. Salerno, president and CEO of Susan G. Komen. "We are taking direct action designed to solve these problems to reduce breast cancer deaths by half in the U.S. within the next decade."