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Special Feature: Women and Health

Get Acrobat Reader Newsletter: Partnership Highlights, June 2008

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 1.2 million people will be diagnosed with breast cancer each year worldwide. Now with early detection such as mammography, the treatment options are greater, meaning a better survival rate. However, the cost and the stigmatization of breast cancer further prevents women from seeking life-saving treatment and diagnostic testing. About 70 percent of breast cancer cases in the Middle East have advanced to stage III or IV (locally advanced or spread to other areas of the body) by the time women see a doctor.

To respond to this health need, the State Department created the Middle East Partnership Initiative's for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research Project, which First Lady Laura Bush helped launch. The Partnership joins medical and community organizations from the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Saudi Arabia and Jordan with the medical expertise of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Recently, First Lady Laura Bush announced the expansion of the Partnership to the Americas. The Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research of the Americas unites experts from the U. S., Brazil, Costa Rica, and Mexico in the fight against breast cancer with experts from University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Together the partners will work to increase research, training and community outreach in the region to give women the knowledge and confidence to take charge of their own health. The Partnership is a locally initiated and locally distributed initiative to increase early detection and reduce mortality through improved awareness, increased clinical resources, and world-class research. This initiative will focus on the areas of awareness-building, grassroots advocacy support, research, training, community outreach, and women’s empowerment.

To get more details and to see what embassies are doing click on the appropriate link below.

Middle East Partnership for Breast cancer Awareness and Research:
Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Palestinian Authority, United Arab Emirates

Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research of the Americas:
Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, India, Paris, Panama, Rome

Costa Rica
The Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research of the Americas has taken its first steps in Costa Rica, the only Central American country that is part of the program launched by U.S. First Lady Laura Bush.

According to U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Peter Brennan, “our primary motivation is the complexity of the illness and the global challenge of breast cancer. That is why we have united the medical expertise of The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, with the global grassroots network and educational resources of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the regional management experience of the Institute of International Education’s West Coast Center (IIE), and the strong commitment of the U.S government, represented by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Office of Public Diplomacy to tackle it.”

Together, these partners will work to encourage research, training and efforts to establish community liaisons and help women of this country to achieve awareness and the confidence they need to take care of their own health.

Participants in the presentation highlighting the progress of the initiative were Costa Rican Vice-Minister of Health Lidieth Carballo; project manager Fabiola Gamboa Ross; Dr. Anna Gabriela Ross Foundation representative Victoria Gamboa Ross; and Julie Anderson, a 28-year old patient and breast cancer survivor from Limon, who shared her experience, and encouraged Costa Rican women to take an active role in prevention and early detection of breast cancer.

In Brazil, the Initiative has resulted in the Health Attache arranging a video conference between “Se Touque,” a breast cancer Brazilian NGO founded by Dr. Monica Allende Serra and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The teleconference/videoconference took place between Dr. Serra and experts at the National Cancer Institute at National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, and the Office on Women's Health at HHS, to give Dr. Serra an opportunity to introduce the "Se Toque" Foundation and explain the self-examination kits. Additionally, work is underway with Susan G. Komen and Brazilian NGOs to support awareness activities, including a race for the cure event scheduled for October 2008.  U.S. Embassy in Brazil

In March 2008, First Lady Laura Bush visited Mexico for the launch of the Mexico-U.S. portion of the Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research, which will build capacity in Mexico to establish collaboration on breast cancer awareness, research, training, community outreach, and women's empowerment. U.S. Embassy in Mexico | Susan G. Komen

The Embassy and Consulates in India have joined together to address this issue. The Embassy in New Delhi is raising awareness and by beginning a public discussion of breast cancer and its prevention, in order to empower Indian women to direct public and personal funds toward greater attention to their health. The movement has a dedicated champion in Mrs. Mulford, a survivor and activist. As the wife of the Ambassador David Mulford, she has kept the spotlight on this critical women’s health issue.

The launch of the initiative took place at the New Delhi Women’s Press Club during Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October). National press and television covered the press panel and series of interviews with Mrs. Mulford and leading Indian women and who survived breast cancer.

The Embassy also worked with the NGO CanSupport to organize New Delhi’s first-ever 5K walk for breast cancer awareness, where some 3000 persons participated in the Walk for Life. The Walk drew broad participation from the U.S Mission and other diplomatic Missions in New Delhi, local businesses and private citizens. Posts also brought in speakers to talk about the issue, including Cindy Schneible, Vice President for Development, Komen for the Cure Foundation, who met with cancer activist NGOs in New Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai to encourage them in their work and to provide advice from Komen’s phenomenal success among American women.

U.S. Embassy in Paris continues to support advanced research and U.S.-French collaboration between France’s premier cancer institute, Institut Gustave Roussey, and MD Anderson of Texas and the partnership between the US NIH’s National Cancer Institute and The Curie Institut, which specializes in complex forms of breast cancer research and has an associated hospital for these forms of breast cancer.

The U.S. Embassy Panama collaborated with FundAyuda by providing volunteers and selling items for fund raising. FundAyuda is a foundation that is raising awareness and providing assistance for those with breast cancer, prostate cancer and arthritis. In October, FundAyuda joined with the public, and Mrs. Vivian Fernandez de Torrijos, First Lady of Panama to launch a public awareness campaign by illuminating Panama City in pink lights. In addition, FundAyuda aims to increase the self-esteem of women who have had a mastectomy by offsetting the cost of implants to women who want them.

This year U.S. Embassy Rome's recruited the largest number of Embassy participants in the annual Komen Race for the Cure, more participants than any other Embassy participating in the event.

Links (from www.getbcfacts.com)

Toll-free hotlines in the United States

  • American Cancer Society: 1-800-ACS-2345
  • Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization: 1-800-221-2141
  • Cancer Care: 1-800-813-HOPE
  • National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service: 1-800-4-CANCER
  • Living Beyond Breast Cancer Hotline: 1-888-753-LBBC
  • Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Helpline: 1-800-IM-AWARE

Online support and community

Online treatment information

Breast cancer organizations

  • BreastCancer.org
    Web site: www.breastcancer.org
  • National Lymphedema Network
    Web site: www.lymphnet.org
  • The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
    Phone: 1-972-855-1600
    Web site: www.komen.org
  • Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization
    Phone: 1-800-221-2141
    Fax: 1-312-294-8598
    Web site: www.y-me.org

General cancer organizations

  • American Cancer Society
    Phone: 1-212-664-9176 or 1-800-227-2345
    Web site: www.cancer.org
  • Cancer Care, Inc.
    Phone: 1-800-813-HOPE
    Fax: 1-212-719-0263
    Web site: www.cancercare.org
  • Cancer Research Foundation of America
    Phone: 1-800-227-CRFA
    Web site: www.preventcancer.org
  • National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship
    Phone: 1-877-NCCS-YES
    Web site: www.canceradvocacy.org

Medical associations and government agencies

Web sites belonging to the following organizations use very technical language. As always, talk to your doctor about information you may find on these sites and information you may receive from these organizations.
  • American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession
    Phone: 1-312-988-5715
    Web site: www.abanet.org/women
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
    Washington, DC 20090
    Phone: 1-202-638-5577
    Web site: www.acog.com
  • American College of Radiology
    Phone: 1-800-ACR-LINE
    Web site: www.acr.org
  • American Medical Women's Association
    Phone: 1-703-838-0500
    Fax: 1-703-549-3864
    Web site: www.amwa-doc.org
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology
    Phone: 1-703-299-0150
    Web site: www.asco.org
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cancer Prevention and Control
    Atlanta, GA 30341-3717
    Phone: 1-770-488-4751
    Web site: www.cdc.gov/cancer
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Phone: 1-877-267-2323
    Web site: www.cms.hhs.gov
  • National Cancer Institute
    Phone: 1-800-422-6237
    Fax: 1-301-402-0894
    Web site: www.nci.nih.gov
  • National Medical Association
    Phone: 1-202-347-1895
    Web site: www.ons.org 

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