History of Komen National

Susan G. Komen for the Cure was established in 1982 by Nancy Brinker to honor the memory of her sister, Susan G. Komen, who died from breast cancer at the age of 36. Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest and most progressive grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists. With over $1 billion invested to date, Komen is the world’s single largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to curing breast cancer at every stage — from the causes, to the cures, to the pain and anxiety of every moment in between.
In addition to funding national research, Komen and survivors and activists in 125 cities and communities fund community-based breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment projects for the medically underserved.
For over 25 years, Susan G. Komen for the Cure 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.

How Far We’ve Come
For the past 25 years, Komen for the Cure 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 - nearly 75 percent of women over 40 years old now receive regular mammograms, the single most effective tool for detecting breast cancer early (in 1982, less than 30 percent received a clinical exam).
  • More hope - the five-year survival rate for breast cancer, when caught early before it spreads beyond the breast, is now 98 percent (compared to 74 percent in 1982).  
  • More research - the federal government now devotes more than $900 million each year to breast cancer research, treatment and prevention (compared to $30 million in 1982).
  • More survivors - America's 2.3 million breast cancers survivors, the largest group of cancer survivors in the U.S., are a living testament to the power of society and science to save lives.

Seeing it Through
We view our 25th anniversary not as a celebration, but as a watershed moment in our fight to end breast cancer. It's a time to take stock of where we are, realign our resources and recommit to finally, once and for all, finish what we started. And because so many millions of people are counting on us, we will invest an additional $1 billion over the next decade to do exactly that.

  • Without a cure, 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will continue to be diagnosed with breast cancer — a devastating disease with physical, emotional, psychological and financial pain that can last a lifetime.
  • Without a cure, an estimated 5 million Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer — and more than 1 million could die — over the next 25 years.
  • Without a cure, an estimated 25 million women around the world will be diagnosed with breast cancer — and 10 million could die — over the next 25 years.

 Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a 501(c)(3) organization as determined by the Internal Revenue Service. The Foundation is approved as a participant in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) and is a national federation member of Independent Charities of America (ICA).