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Breast Cancer Awareness Month


Washington, DC
October 1, 2007

Office of International Women's Issues
October 1, 2007

October is breast cancer awareness month in the U.S. and time for us to recognize the leading cause of cancer among women in the world. Breast cancer incidence and mortality rates remain highest in developed countries compared with developing countries, with the U.S. having the highest incidence. The World Health Organization, estimates that more than 1.2 million people will be diagnosed with breast cancer each year worldwide with an estimated 180,510 new cases in the US alone (ACS).

Although the number of cases in the US remains high, the number of women dying from breast cancer declined significantly between 1976 and 1997, due to earlier detection and more effective treatments. The 5-year survival rate for women diagnosed with early stages of breast cancer is currently 92%; this represents significant progress from a rate of only 72% in the 1940s. However, in women whose cancer has spread throughout the body the 5-year survival rate declines to 20% (ACS).

Therefore, early detection allows for more treatment options and a better survival rate. Unfortunately, women in other countries do not have the same access to treatment or diagnosis. Furthermore, the stigmatization of breast cancer as being shameful or embarrassing further prevents women from seeking life-saving treatment and diagnostic testing.

Last March Sec. Rice recognized Dr. Samia al-Amoudi from Saudi Arabia, as one of 10 women of courage. She is a physician and a breast cancer survivor. She diagnosed her own breast cancer and actively sought treatment. She continues to fight this stigma and encourages women to conduct self examinations and receive a mammography when available. The State Department has worked closely with Dr. Samia al-Amoudi and others to support outreach efforts through the Middle East Partnership Initiative's Breast Cancer Awareness and Research Project. For more information on breast cancer outreach, education and research please check out our links:

American Cancer Society

National Breast Cancer Coalition

National Breast Cancer Research Fund:

National Cancer Institute

Susan G. Komen Foundation

Pan American Health Organization

World Health Organization


Presidential Proclamation


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