Komen Idaho Blog

Komen Idaho Blog: We live here. We race here. We save lives here.

Blog Date_10




For today’s blog post we are sharing a post on the Komen Headquarters blog about Metastatic Breast Cancer.

MBC Patients Need More

Blog by Jacqueline McKnight, Scientific Programs Specialist at Susan G. Komen

Metastatic breast cancer (MBC), or Stage IV breast cancer, is different from early-stage breast cancers because it cannot be cured.

People living with MBC transition from one treatment to a new treatment for the rest of their lives.  Metastatic Breast Cancer Network (MBCN) President, Shirley Mertz, wants that to change.  Her mantra, “Scan > Treat > Repeat: Stage IV Needs More” was printed on t-shirts, rally towels and power point slides at the Komen-supported MBCN 8th National Conference.  Advocacy was a major theme of the meeting: personal advocacy, patient advocacy and political advocacy were all highly encouraged.

During the opening session, women and men living with MBC were asked to stand and then sit down as the years that had passed since their diagnoses were read aloud.  Those standing the longest had been living with the disease for 16 and 17 years. Approximately 75 percent of the attendees had never been to a MBCN meeting. Many had never spoken to anyone else who lives with the disease.  Learning that people can live and thrive with MBC was a powerful and emotional experience.

Speakers shared their stories and offered advice. Cathy Spencer, a former car salesperson turned poet who didn’t think she would live to see her 50th birthday, received resounding applause when she said, “I’ve stopped living the life I had planned and am now living the life that is waiting for me.” Participants laughed together watching a video called “Dumb Things People Say to people living with Metastatic Breast Cancer,” cried together listening to survivor stories, and found encouragement during networking times relating to and understanding the journeys of their peers.

The information provided by experts at this meeting included Komen Scholars Drs. Elizabeth (Claire) Dees and Lisa Carey, along with Brinker Award Winner Hyman Muss. These experts spoke on a variety of topics from clinical trials to the latest treatments to how to speak with your children. The sessions were not only of the highest caliber, but actionable and useful to attendees.

It was my pleasure to represent Susan G. Komen at this impactful meeting.  Some people living with MBC feel lost at Susan G. Komen events, overwhelmed by the pink and by messages of survivorship.  Some question if they are welcome or belong anywhere in the continuum of Komen’s support network.  Many don’t know about all of the services, research and conference support that we invest for those living with MBC.

Komen honors the memory of its namesake and all those who have been lost to MBC by providing travel scholarships to this conference for those who now live with MBC in the hopes of reducing their isolation and building knowledge about the medical advances that help people live longer with MBC. There is a place at Komen for those living with MBC and I am honored to have been among those who shared that message at the MBCN 8th National Conference!


dec 1




Saint Alphonsus has been a long time partner and grantee with Komen Idaho. They currently have two grants with Komen Idaho;

Their Comprehensive Breast Care Center has a grant to screening and diagnostics services. This project delivers free and reduced-cost screening and diagnostic mammography and ultrasound services to underserved, un/underinsured, and low-income patients across the metropolitan and rural/frontier areas of Southwest Idaho. The Saint Al’s Breast Care Center is committed to reducing rurality-, disability- and culturally-based disparities in early detection and treatment of breast cancer and providing services to low-income patients who face many socioeconomic barriers to care, as well as often-insurmountable transportation obstacles. The project includes Boise and Nampa fixed sites and a Mobile Clinic traveling approximately 13,000 miles per year across Ada, Canyon, Adams, Boise, Gem, Payette, Owyhee, Valley, Elmore, and Washington counties in Health Districts 3 and 4. Key activities include providing charitable assistance to patients with verifiable low income who are unable to pay for mammography screening and diagnostics. The project, at a total cost of $79,891, will provide 739 screening mammograms (395 via mobile, 172 in Nampa and 172 in Boise), and a total of 52 diagnostic mammograms and ultrasounds at fixed sites. Subsidized services will permit patients to receive screenings at recommended intervals or as indicated, and address Idaho’s late-stage diagnosis rate. The project will be evaluated based on number of patients served, their income, insurance status, and other demographic variables related to access to care.

Their Cancer Care Center provides financial assistance to breast cancer patients. In addition to causing profound physical and emotional trauma, a breast cancer diagnosis can result in overwhelming financial burdens for patients and their families. To ensure that financial stressors do not create barriers to treatment or rehabilitation, do not threaten patients’ financial independence or daily stability, and do not add to patients’ already high anxiety levels and detract from recovery, Saint Alphonsus CCCs sustains a Breast Cancer Patient Assistance Fund (BCPAF). This fund supports financially disadvantaged patients living with a breast cancer diagnosis to fulfill basic needs for housing and other living essentials (assistance with rent and utility payments); maintain adequate nutrition (assistance with groceries); preserve communication with medical teams and support networks (assistance with phone payments); access treatment centers (assistance for medically necessary transportation); and obtain supplies necessary for rehabilitation (assistance for lymphedema equipment). Patient need is confirmed by a rapid review of each individual’s unique personal circumstances. This funding is expected to ensure that as many as 20 patients each year (10 each in Boise and Nampa) will a) overcome barriers to completing their treatment; b) report stability, sound nutrition, and access to social networks during treatment; and c) report reduced anxiety stemming from practical concerns.

nov 20




Community Cancer Services is a returning grantee with Komen Idaho. The Enriched Recovery Program for Breast Cancer Clients helps the poor, people who lack health insurance or otherwise have inadequate access to cancer care services. The Program provides financial support and advocacy to help clients and their families through a difficult time. This Program will provide comprehensive support to help meet the practical needs of people who are struggling with the financial effects of a breast cancer diagnosis.

The goal of the Program is to provide financial support to clients affected by the diagnosis of cancer. Through this Program, we will provide financial assistance by providing: gas vouchers to get to cancer related appointments; assistance for insurance co-pays, prescriptions and medical bills; assistance for utilities, lodging, specialized massage therapy; nutritional supplements; and medical supplies.

CCS is able to ensure it is successful in its mission and that programs satisfy the needs of those we serve by utilizing intake questionnaires and program feedback. We currently use client data to help measure success in: financial terms; numbers of new clients and clients served; and client demographics.

nov 17




Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare but aggressive type of locally advanced breast cancer. It is called inflammatory breast cancer because its main symptoms are swelling and redness of the breast (the breast looks inflamed). These and other symptoms include:

  • Swelling or enlargement of the breast
  • Redness of the breast (may also be a pinkish or purplish tone)
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin of the breast
  • Pulling in of the nipple
  • Breast pain

Although sometimes a lump in the breast can be felt, it is less common with IBC than with other breast cancers.  With other breast cancers, symptoms in the breast may not occur for years. However, with IBC, symptoms tend to arise within weeks or months. Because of the frequent lack of a breast lump and symptoms such as redness and swelling, IBC may first be mistaken for an infection. IBC is often diagnosed after symptoms do not improve with a course of antibiotics.

IBC tumors are often estrogen receptor-negative and HER2/neu-positive. Because these breast cancers are aggressive, most women with IBC have positive lymph nodes and 25 to 30 percent have metastasis when they are diagnosed. For this reason, when IBC is diagnosed, tests for metastatic breast cancer are done.

Prognosis for inflammatory breast cancer

Older data have shown that, with treatment, up to 65 percent of people with IBC will live at least five years after diagnosis and about 35 percent will live at least 10 years after diagnosis. Prognosis, however, depends on each person’s diagnosis and treatment.

With modern treatments available today, survival for women with inflammatory breast cancer appears to be improving. One study found that 82 percent of women diagnosed after 2006 lived for at least three years after diagnosis compared to 63 percent of women diagnosed before 2006.

Treatment for inflammatory breast cancer

IBC is treated with a combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, and may include hormone therapy and/or targeted therapy.

Neoadjuvant therapy

The first treatment for IBC is neoadjuvant (before surgery) chemotherapy, usually with an anthracycline-based chemotherapy and a taxane-based chemotherapy. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy helps shrink the tumor(s) in the breast and lymph nodes so that surgery can better remove all of the cancer. When possible, all the chemotherapy planned to treat locally advanced breast cancer is given before surgery. If the tumor does not get smaller with one combination of chemotherapy drugs, other combinations can be tried.

If the tumor is HER2/neu-positive, neoadjuvant trastuzumab (Herceptin) may also be given, but not at the same time as the anthracycline-based chemotherapy. Neoadjuvant pertuzumab (Perjeta) may be given in combination with trastuzumab.  In some cases, if the tumor does not respond to neoadjuvant chemotherapy, radiation therapy may be given before surgery.


Surgery for IBC is almost always a mastectomy. Some lymph nodes in the underarm area (axillary nodes) are also removed.  For women choosing breast reconstruction, this surgery is not usually done at the same time as the mastectomy, but at a later time (“delayed” reconstruction). Delayed reconstruction is preferred because radiation therapy follows surgery.

Radiation therapy and adjuvant therapy

Surgery for IBC is followed by radiation therapy.

Adjuvant (after surgery and radiation therapy) therapy depends upon the type of tumor and prior treatment. If chemotherapy was not completed before surgery, the remaining chemotherapy is given after surgery. HER2/neu-positive IBC is treated with trastuzumab (some trastuzumab may also be given before surgery). Hormone receptor-positive IBC is treated with hormone therapy.

Source: http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/LocallyAdvancedInflammatoryBreastCancerStageIII.html

Nov 14




Kootenai Health is a great community partner with Komen Idaho serving Northern Idaho. Kootenai Health currently has two grants with Komen Idaho:

Kootenai Health provides funds for underserved, uninsured or underinsured men and women in need of lifesaving screening and diagnostic mammography services. Patients must reside in one of the six northern counties. Kootenai Outpatient Imaging identifies and qualifies patients. Patients must meet at least one of the following criteria: underinsured, uninsured or underserved, as well as the inability to qualify for coverage with the Women’s Health Check. We believe no man or woman should have to delay lifesaving imaging due to financial concerns.

Kootenai Health also manages funding to help address the needs of cancer patients of their Cancer Services department. Eligible patients are identified by social workers and program eligibility is based on patient need. Many patients are in situations that leave them unable to afford both cancer treatment costs and pay essential living expenses. No patient should have to choose between buying groceries for their family or lifesaving treatment. These funds help with essential living expenses and treatment support including but not limited to child care, gasoline, groceries, transportation-related expenses, non-food items, prescriptions (full or co-pay), over-the-counter medication or supplies, cancer risk assessment and risk reduction education, rent, central port flush supplies, durable medical equipment, lymphedema garments, clothing, incontinence supplies, and nutritional supplements.

If you are in need of a mammogram or financial assistance in North Idaho, call Kootenai Health Cancer Services or Kootenai Outpatient Imaging.

Nov 11




Today’s blog post is a mammogram question and answers series.

What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. This is the best screening tool widely available to detect breast cancer early.
How often should I get a mammogram?
Starting at the age of 40, women should have annual screening mammograms. Women under age 40 with a family history of breast cancer and other concerns about their personal risk should consult with a health care provider about risk assessment and when to begin screening mammography.
What is an ultrasound and when is it recommended?
Ultrasound is commonly used with pregnant women to look at a developing baby. When used on the breast, it can distinguish between different types of lumps, such as liquid-filled cysts and solid masses. Doctors use ultrasound to find out the size, shape, texture and density of a breast lump. An ultrasound is safe and painless, and uses no radiation.
Why are mammograms not recommended for women under 40?
Mammography is a very effective breast cancer screening tool overall. However, it may be more effective at detecting tumors in older women than in younger women. Images on mammograms appear in gradations of black, gray and white, depending on the density of the tissue. Bone shows up as white; fat appears dark gray and cancerous tumors appear a lighter shade of gray or white.

Unfortunately, dense normal breast tissue can also appear light gray on a mammogram, which can make mammograms harder to interpret in younger women, since they tend to have denser breasts. After menopause, though, breast density usually begins to decrease, making the mammograms of older women easier to read.
Does the radiation from a mammogram cause cancer?
Today, mammography has little radiation risk. The amount of radiation that is used in mammography has been reduced greatly and is considered to be safe for women of the appropriate age.
How effective are mammograms?
Mammography does a good job of finding breast cancer, especially among women ages 50 and older. However, it is most accurate when combined with a clinical breast exam. Among women ages 50 and older, between six and 27 percent of cancers may be missed with mammography alone, depending on a variety of factors, including breast density. When mammography is combined with clinical breast exam, about four percent more cancers are found than with mammography alone. This improvement is even greater among women with dense breast tissue.
What are calcifications?
Calcifications are deposits of calcium that appear on a mammogram. In older women especially, calcium may leave the bones and appear in other parts of the body, such as the joints or breasts. But, clusters of tiny calcifications (microcalcifications) can be indications of precancer or cancer. Microcalcifications usually form as small, tight clusters in the ducts that can be seen on a mammogram. Although they are not themselves dangerous, they can be a warning sign of cancer and lead a doctor to perform follow-up tests to determine whether the area is cancerous or not.

Source: http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/LowerYourRiskFAQ.html#mammogram


As a Komen grantee, St. Luke’s Breast Care program offers a full-spectrum of services including screening, diagnostics, surgery, treatment, education and navigation, reconstruction and survivorship.  Their screening facilities perform over 40,000 exams annually and follow-up diagnostic care services for over 13,000 women per year.  The top goal of the project is to provide a financial resource to patients thus reducing the financial barrier to care patients have as an obstacle for wellness and health.  The project consists of using methodologies to highlight the commitment of St. Luke’s BCS to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in Idaho through the continuum of care with specific measurements to address each point of care in the screening and diagnosis of breast cancer.    In addition, diagnostic services provide digital mammography, ultrasound, MRI, and breast biopsy at facilities providing individualized comfort and privacy with personalized care.

St. Luke’s BCS improves access to screening mammograms and provide these life-saving services free of charge to women with financial need that are uninsured and/or underinsured through the Komen grant.

Blog Date_03

Minidoka Memorial Hospital is a great Komen Idaho grant recipient in Rupert.  Minidoka County’s #1 defense against breast cancer project provides free mammogram services for up to 55 underserved, culturally diverse and limited English speaking women. The participants are between the age of 35 and 49 and indicate they do not have medical insurance coverage and cannot meet the financial obligation. No less than 20 percent of these mammograms are provided to Hispanic women. We also request additional funding for 11 further diagnostic and or ultrasounds for patients with abnormal mammogram results.

Breast health and breast cancer education information is provided through a variety of media and communication outlets to women in Minidoka County.

Blog Date_30

Terry Reilly has been a long time Komen Idaho grantee and friend in the community.  Using information in their electronic medical records, Terry Reilly Health Services identifies, contacts, and provides breast cancer screening mammography vouchers to 233 low-income, medically underserved women age 40 and above or high-risk women ages 35-39 who are served by their medical clinics in Boise, Nampa, Caldwell, Melba, and Middleton, Marsing, and Homedale. Mammograms are done through local hospitals or other community screening sites with whom we contract. Case management for all abnormal results is provided by Terry Reilly licensed nursing staff, who ensure that follow-up care is provided as part of a comprehensive community approach to care.

Thanks to this Komen for the Cure grant’s vouchers, the community will have higher numbers of low-income, uninsured or underinsured women who obtain mammograms, including minorities, than would have been the case otherwise. Ultimately, any cancer that is discovered will be found at an earlier, more treatable stage, with fewer overall costs to the individual, family and community.

Blog Date_28

Glenns Ferry Health Center is a returning Komen Idaho grantee in Elmore County.  Glenns Ferry anticipates reaching 400 females for breast exams, screening, and breast health education. Ultimately, offering 65 females 20-64 of age free mammography. Komen Grant resources are used to ensure low-income uninsured women requiring a mammogram can obtain one free with St. Lukes’s Mobile Mammography scheduled to be in Glenns Ferry, Bruneau, and Mountain Home. GFHC also refers patients to St. Luke’s in Mountain Home or Boise based upon patient’s wishes and diagnostic needs or urgency.

Glenns Ferry Health Centeris a non-profit private corporation, governed by a community based Board of Directors who volunteer their time and efforts to assure quality health care services are available to all.  GFHC has delivered quality care to the underserved communities of Elmore and Owyhee counties for more than 31 years.  The corporation consists of three health center sites located in Glenns Ferry, Mountain Home and Grandview. Since it was incorporated in 1982, GFHC has expanded primary, behavioral health, and dental services to meet the needs of the low income, uninsured, and insured residents of Elmore and Owyhee counties.

Glenns Ferry Health center is making a BIG impact in the small communities!

Blog Date_23

St. Luke’s McCall has been a long time grantee of Komen Idaho.  They currently have a grant with the goal to increase the health of women in their region. St. Luke’s McCall provides support for screening and diagnostic services for uninsured patients, financial support (including travel funds and necessary basic cost of living expenses) for breast cancer patients, outreach and education through breast buddies targeted to Adams and Idaho counties, and miraculous mammography promotion.

St. Luke’s McCall was the first facility in Idaho to provide breast tomosynthesis (3D mammography). According to www.komen.org:

Special imaging machines can take multiple, standard two-dimensional (2D) digital mammograms. Computer software combines the 2D X-ray images into a three-dimensional (3D) image (called breast tomosynthesis). Radiologists must have special training to read these 3D images.

Breast tomosynthesis is not a substitute for 2D mammography. A breast tomosynthesis machine provides both a regular digital mammogram and an enhanced 3D image based on the 2D images. All of the X-rays are taken on the same machine, so a woman getting breast tomosynthesis in combination with a mammogram stays in place. Because more X-rays are taken, breast tomosynthesis gives a slightly higher dose of radiation than mammography (this higher dose is still within FDA guidelines) [81].

Some studies have suggested screening with digital mammography plus breast tomosynthesis may find more breast cancers than digital mammography alone [78-80].

Digital mammography in combination with breast tomosynthesis is starting to be used in clinical practice. At this time, it is not widely available.

If you are in Idaho, Adams, or Valley Counties visit St. Luke’s McCall for your breast health needs.

Blog Date_21

St. Luke’s Wood River is the only Komen grantee in Blaine County.  Recognizing the direct connection between access to mammogram screening and decreased incidence of cancer and death, St. Luke’s Wood River has made it a priority to provide advanced breast imaging technology available to all women in their service area. In 2009, they opened a state-of-the-art Women’s Imaging Center, fully funded by community philanthropy, to comprehensively address breast cancer.

The cornerstone of the Center is digital mammography. For many women, digital mammography is more effective at detecting breast cancer at a very early stage.

As part of their commitment to comprehensively address women’s health, St. Luke’s Wood River aims to ensure that cost does not prevent women from accessing effective breast screening technology.

Their Komen Idaho grant provides funding to pay for the costs of screening and/or diagnostic mammograms, and/or breast ultrasound for women 25 years of age and older. Project funding will help offset the cost of care for patients with limited financial means and will help to increase mammography screening rates in our service area. This effort will result in identifying cancer at earlier stages, potentially increasing the survival rate of women receiving support from this project in our community.

Blog Date_15

Today we have a guest blogger, Komen Idaho Board President Mark Wigod, M.D.

BRA Day – that is Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day – is on October 15th.  A significant portion of my practice is devoted to post mastectomy breast reconstruction, but many patients considering treatment choices are not aware of their options.  Many of my general surgery colleagues send their patients for a pre mastectomy consult to present options and to plan for the best result.  This has been great for patients and I hope it will continue.  My experience is not alone and patient education bills have been introduced in congress.  If you would like to learn more about the issue, go to the BRA Day web site.


o 13

October 13 is Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Awareness Day.  We thought this would be a great time to provide more information about MBC.

What is MBC?

MBC (also called stage IV or advanced breast cancer) is breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast to other organs in the body (most often the bones, lungs, liver or brain). Both women and men can be diagnosed with MBC. In fact, it causes the majority of the 40,000 expected breast cancer deaths each year in the United States. For those who are diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, there is always a risk that at some point after an initial diagnosis, the breast cancer can recur or metastasize. This risk varies from person to person and depends greatly on the biology of the tumor and stage at the time of original diagnosis and how the cancer was treated. Often, MBC arises months or years after a person has completed treatment for early or locally advanced breast cancer (stage I, II or III). However, some people have MBC when they are first diagnosed, but this is not common (fewer than five percent of diagnoses) in the U.S. Survival for MBC varies greatly from person to person. One large study found that about 15 percent of women lived at least five years after diagnosis with MBC and some women may live 10 or more years beyond diagnosis.

How is MBC found?

If breast cancer is found in the lymph nodes, tests are done to check for metastasis. If symptoms such as shortness of breath, chronic cough, weight loss or bone pain occur, they may be signs of MBC. Tests are then needed to confirm or rule out metastases.

The three main tests are:

• A blood test to check for spread to the liver or bones

• Bone scans to test for spread to the bone

• X-ray/CT scans to test for spread to the chest, abdomen and liver

How is MBC treated?

Although MBC has spread to another part of the body, it is still considered and treated as breast cancer.

As hard as it is to hear, MBC cannot be cured. Unlike breast cancer that remains in the breast or nearby lymph nodes, we do not know how to get rid of all the cancer once it has spread to other organs.

However, MBC can be treated. The focus of treating MBC is on length and quality of life. Treatment is highly personalized. A person’s specific treatment plan is guided by many medical factors, including:

• Characteristics of the cancer cells,

• Location of metastasis,

• Symptoms, and

• Past breast cancer treatments.

What about clinical trials?

There are many new treatments for MBC currently being studied in clinical trials. Findings from these trials will determine whether or not new treatments become a part of the standard of care for MBC. Those living with MBC are often the first to benefit from new breast cancer treatments. They may be more likely to join a clinical trial than those with earlier-stage disease. Even so, some may feel like they are viewed as research subjects and not human beings. Learn more about clinical trials including our collaboration with BreastCancerTrials.org. BreastCancerTrials.org offers a matching service that can help a person find clinical trials for people with MBC.

Additional information

Looking for more information about understanding MBC? Visit http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/MetastaticBreastCancerHome.html

o 9

Panhandle Health District has been a long time grantee of Komen Idaho. Their grant allows patient who receive to clinical breast exam from a Panhandle Health provider to receive a voucher for a free mammogram or ultrasound. Their program is unique in that it provides services for women under 50.  Most women over the age of 50 are eligible for a federal screening program through Women’s Health Check.  The women’s Health check program leaves women under 50 without screening options if they do not have insurance.  Through the Panhandle Health Department grant those patients can get the screening they need.

A recipient of the Komen funds from Panhandle Health had this to say:

I would like to express my gratitude for the Komen voucher that covered all my costs incurred with my mammogram and diagnosis procedures. I had a mammogram last December. I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. I got the news the day before Christmas Eve. My family and I were fearful at the beginning of my journey. Within two weeks from that phone call, I had my first surgery. By March I ended up having three surgeries. I have changed my diet, lifestyle, attitude, and outlook on life radically. I am healthy, less stressed, physically fit, and thankful to God for my family and the many other blessings in my life.


National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) is October and Komen Idaho is busy with outreach events around the state. Here is what we have scheduled so far:

October 10th – Wacoal Fit for the Cure

Wacoal Fit for the Cure at Dillard’s in the Boise Towne Square Mall.  Visit Dillard’s on October 10th, 2014 and get a bra fitting. Wacoal will donate $2 for every woman fit and an additional $2 for every Wacoal bra and/or shape-wear purchase.

October 10th – ZUMBA Party in Pink, BSU Rec Center

Sign up for the Zumba Party in Pink where you can dance to raise awareness about breast cancer! Follow this link to sign-up and/or for more information http://zumbathon.zumba.com/details/23649#sthash.Gr1oAuLR.dpuf

October 11th – Saturday Market Bell Ringer

Komen Idaho will be kicking-off the Saturday Market in October by ringing the bell. Come check it out! We will be there 8:30am – 1:30pm.

October 13th – Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

October 13th – Parking Lot Party, Weiser Hospital. Stop by Weiser Hospital Noon-4pm. Get valuable information, get a mammogram, or just stroll through the vendors.

October 15th – Breast Reconstructive Surgery Awareness Day

October 17th – Fit for the Cure, Macy’s

Wacoal Fit for the Cure at Macy’s in the Boise Towne Square Mall.  Visit Macy’s on October 17th, 2014 and get a bra fitting. Wacoal will donate $2 for every woman fit and an additional $2 for every Wacoal bra and/or shape-wear purchase.

October 21st – Breast Cancer Panel Discussion, Boise State University

Participate and learn more about the state of breast cancer in Idaho by attending this breast cancer panel at Boise State University on October 21st, 2014 in Jordan Ballroom A from 6:00pm – 8:00pm. Each panelist would give a 10 min presentation on their interest area, followed by a Q & A with the audience. Here are the panelists:

1. Cheryl Jorcyk, Boise State University

2. Jennifer Poole, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

3. Patty Dock, St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center

4. Sandra Wood, The Cancer Connection Idaho

5. Elizabeth Prier, MD, St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center

6. Amy Mansell, survivor

Moderator: Jodi Weak, Komen Idaho

October 24th – Coffee for a Cure, The Human Bean

Purchase your favorite beverage or pastry at any of our 4 Human Bean locations on Friday, October 24th (all day) and 100% OF SALES will be donated to Susan G. Komen, Idaho. Funds help to provide low income mammograms and follow up care to women with breast cancer.

All October – A1 Plumbing Service Plans

Sign-up for a Service Partner plan with A1 Plumbing and A1 will donate your first month’s dues to Komen Idaho. Visit www.a1plumbingboise.com or call 208.376.7473 to sign-up.

Oct 3

Since 2003, North Canyon Medical Center, in Gooding, Idaho, has been a grant recipient of the Susan G. Komen, Idaho Community Grant.  The Komen Idaho grant has allowed this small community hospital to offer quality services to individuals who couldn’t otherwise afford them.

For the 2014/2015 Community Grant cycle, North Canyon Medical Center was awarded $10,000 to provide mammography and diagnostic services for low to middle income women who may not qualify for other financial assistance programs.  During this grant cycle they hope to provide 60 women with free breast imaging services with the intention of reducing the number of late stage breast cancers and promoting breast health awareness in their region.

“North Canyon Medical Center (NCMC) is very grateful to receive a grant from Komen Idaho. Our ‘Rural Care for Low to Middle Income Women’ program is a substantial part of our mammography department; the grant funds help provide breast health services to individuals in our community and surrounding areas,” said Jamie Ramsey, QA Mammographer at NCMC. “NCMC and Komen Idaho have a grant relationship that spans almost a decade. We are fortunate to have a hospital administration and community that realizes the necessity of the grant and supports NCMC and Komen Idaho’s efforts to raise breast health awareness in our region. Many community members attend the annual Boise Race for the Cure to help raise vital grant funds.”

If you are in the Magic Valley area and need a mammogram, feel free to contact North Canyon Medical Center.

sep 29

These days ribbons are worn for many different causes. Red signifies AIDS awareness. A yellow ribbon has long represented support for armed forces. However, one of the most prominent ribbon colors is pink, which aims to raise awareness of and support for breast cancer.

There is some controversy surrounding the origins of the breast cancer pink ribbon. There are also suggestions that the ribbon was intended to be peach and not pink.

In 1992, just about every organization started using ribbons to raise awareness. The New York Times actually dubbed 1992 “The Year of the Ribbon.” Alexandra Penney, the then-editor of Self magazine, wanted to create a ribbon for the publication’s second annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month issue. The previous year she had worked with cosmetics giant Estee Lauder. Evelyn Lauder, the senior corporate vice president, was herself a breast cancer survivor. Penney thought a collaboration between the magazine and Lauder could see a ribbon on cosmetic counters across the nation, and help sell a few magazines in the process.

The trouble was Penney had read a story about a 68-year-old woman, Charlotte Haley, who was producing handmade ribbons in her home. Haley had a number of people in her immediate family who had battled breast cancer and her handmade “peach” ribbons intended to raise awareness about the limited government funds being used for breast cancer research. Haley’s message was spreading by word of mouth.

Penney and Lauder contacted Haley and wanted to further collaborate on the peach ribbon theme. However, Haley didn’t want to be involved, saying the effort would be too commercial. She refused to turn over rights to the use of the peach ribbon. As a result, Penney consulted with attorneys who said to come up with another color, and pink was eventually chosen.

Pink had already been associated with breast cancer in the past. Just a few years earlier, the Susan G. Komen had given out pink visors to its “Race for the Cure” participants. It had also created a pink ribbon.

The pink ribbon quickly took off by leaps and bounds. Millions were distributed by Estee Lauder. There are many philanthropic and commercial businesses who now use the pink ribbon in their breast cancer marketing plans. Every October, women are urged to don pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Many embrace the pink ribbon as a symbol of hope, one that has done its share of work toward spreading the word about the need for more breast cancer awareness and research.

Adapted from: http://wkfm.northcoastnow.com/media/wkfm/Breast-cancer/index.html

sep 23

What an amazing Race we had in Coeur d’Alene on September 21st! With the hustle and bustle of all the Race day activities, I couldn’t help but sit back and recognize the work of the countless volunteers who made the Race a success. Volunteers play a vital role in the Susan G. Komen Coeur d’Alene Race for the Cure. Your passion and commitment is what makes our Race successful. This disease has touched so many people, either through their own personal experience or that of a loved one.  Individuals from all walks of life volunteered their time and talents before, during and after the Race to ensure its success.

Komen Idaho provides services in 28 counties in Idaho, stretching over 54,000 square miles. We have an office in Boise but spend a lot of time on the road in North Idaho, the Magic Valley, and everywhere in between.  We are often asked how four employees can do so much in such a vast service area.  The answer is simple…volunteers!  In any given year, we estimate that more than 700 people volunteer with Komen Idaho. They are the reason we are able to be successful and provide services throughout the majority of Idaho. They are the reason we are able to continue to fight against breast cancer.

Although volunteers are vital to the success of the Race for the Cure, they are needed year round at Komen Idaho.  Are you a leader, a thinker or a doer? Use your talents in our promise to save lives and end breast cancer forever! We need you now more than ever. Volunteers provide countless hours contributing their skills to further the Susan G. Komen® promise. We will work with your availability. Every minute you spend helping gives another minute of hope to those affected by breast cancer. To join our team as a volunteer visit http://komenidahomont.wpengine.com/get-involved/volunteer/.

Thank you volunteers for all you do!

Blog Date_22

We are just four days away from the 15th Annual Coeur d’Alene Race for the Cure.  In celebration, the Coeur d’Alene Race Committee is partnering with many of the Coeur d’Alene Downtown businesses to have a “pink-out” downtown competition. Help support Susan G. Komen, Idaho in our mission to provide more Idahoans with access to breast health, screenings, patient assistance, awareness, education, research and action by participating in the 2014 Pink Out.

Visit these participating downtown merchants and vote for your favorite window display September 12th-20th.

  1. Mrs. Honeypeeps Sweet Shop – 210 Sherman Ave.
  2. Louie Permelia – 210 E. Sherman Ave. #149
  3. One Good Thread – 210 E. Sherman Ave.
  4. Summers Glass & Beads – 211 E. Sherman Ave.
  5. Everson’s Jewelry – 310 E. Sherman Ave.
  6. All Things Irish – 315 E. Sherman Ave.
  7. Shenanigan’s Toy Emporium – 312 E. Sherman Ave.
  8. Wiggett’s Antique Marketplace – 115 S 4th Street
  9. Tiffany Blue – 404 Sherman Ave.
  10. Coeur d’Alene Souvenir & Sundry – 412 E. Sherman Ave.
  11. Christmas at the Lake – 519 E. Sherman Ave.
  12. Idaho Trust Bank – 622 E. Sherman Ave.

Pink Out Downtown Map with Numbers

When you turn in your ballot at any of the participating stores you will receive a “Give 15″ card. If you purchase an item at any of the listed stores and turn in your card the business will donate 15% of the purchase back to Susan G. Komen, Idaho!

Blog Date_22

Seventy-five percent of the money raised in Idaho stays in the 28 county Komen Idaho service area.  The remaining twenty-five percent goes to fund the Komen national research portfolio. Komen Idaho relies on the generosity and support of the community to raise these much needed funds.  Over eighty percent of the budget for Komen Idaho is raised at a Race for the Cure event.

Komen Idaho provides low-cost or free screening mammograms, diagnostic testing and breast cancer treatment support to uninsured or underinsured Idaho residents.  Funds raised by Komen Idaho provide support services before, during, and after breast cancer treatment.  We empower Idaho residents with information about the importance of early detection and breast health.

Thousands of women in Idaho who could not afford to receive life-saving education, screening, and treatment for breast cancer can because of Komen Idaho.  Since 1999, Komen Idaho has funded:

  • 19,509 mammograms
  • 9,785 clinical breast exams
  • 2,846 diagnostic services
  • 88,841 breast cancer/breast health education
  • 261 treatment assistance

When you register for the Coeur d’Alene Race for the Cure you automatically received your own fundraising website which can be personalized. Encourage everyone you know to visit your personal web-site and see what you are doing in the fight against breast cancer and make a donation on your behalf.

Involve your friends and make your IMPACT even bigger. Consider that the average cost of a mammogram is $150 in Idaho. By fundraising, you can help support free mammograms and other the life-saving breast health programs in the Komen Idaho service area!

Fundraise for the Coeur d’Alene Race for the Cure with Facebook! Once you’ve registered online, login to your participant center and add the Impact Fundraiser app to Facebook to easily extend your fundraising efforts to your network of friends on Facebook.

Any participant who fundraises a minimum of $100 by September 19th, 2014, will be entered to win an iPad Mini. The drawing will take place on race day after the awards ceremony and you must be present to win.

Register today for the Coeur d’Alene Race for the Cure by visiting www.komenidaho.org. Race day is September 21st!

Blog Date_22

Teresa_Bateman_HeadshotWe have the honor of recognizing hundreds of breast cancer survivors each year at our survivor celebrations and Race for the Cure events in Boise and Coeur d’Alene.

Recently one young survivor offered to share her story.  Teresa Bateman graciously allowed Komen Idaho to videotape and photograph her journey with breast cancer. Watch her share her story at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFpXc8yBWAo.

All survivors in North Idaho are invited to join us at the Survivor Celebration on September 20. For more information and to register visit http://komenidahomont.wpengine.com/idaho-events/coeur-dalene-survivor-celebration/.


Blog Date_22

Komen has made a promise to end breast cancer forever – energizing science to find the cures is a critical part of this promise. Read more about some programs that are fulfilling this promise. To effectively support our focus on reducing breast cancer incidence and/or deaths within the decade, our research grants range from training awards that attract young investigators into the field of breast cancer to large Promise Grants supporting multiple integrated clinical and laboratory projects that come together to answer critical questions in breast cancer. Along this continuum, Komen supports Investigator Initiated Research Grants from established investigators and Career Catalyst Research Grants that seek to move promising young investigators toward research independence.

Our research focus has evolved over the years. In the beginning we focused on understanding the basic biology of breast cancer. As we learn more about the factors that make cancer cells grow and spread, we are able to invest more in the translation of this knowledge into treatment, early detection and prevention.

  • We began with a single grant for $28,000 in 1982
  • Susan G. Komen for the Cure® has funded research each year since we began
  • We have invested more than $750 million in research since 1982
  • We are the largest non-government funder of breast cancer research in the world
  • We currently manage over 500 active research grants totaling over $250 million
  • We have supported a broad range of research from basic biology to treatment to survivorship

To see a complete list of Komen sponsored research programs visit: http://ww5.komen.org/researchgrantsawarded.aspx?id=16252

Komen also has a long-standing history of collaborating with other nonprofit organizations that share our goal of ending breast cancer forever.  We value the relationships we have built with our nonprofit partners, and continue to seek out opportunities to work together and share resources to facilitate the development of the infrastructure, tools, and other means to accelerate the translation of scientific discoveries from bench to bedside to curbside.

Our Sponsored Programs and Partnerships include:

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center

Since 2007, Komen has invested more than $7M to support the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Tissue Bank, the only healthy breast tissue repository in the world! By studying normal tissue, the tissue bank accelerates research on the causes and prevention of breast cancer.

American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
Komen has collaborated with ASCO since 2008, when we entered into a partnership with ASCO to support projects and initiatives focused on clinical research & quality of care. Komen is proud to be a founder of ASCO’s CancerLinQ a multi-phase initiative that promises to change the way cancer is understood and treated. This “rapid learning system” will harness technological advances to connect oncology practices, measure quality and performance, and provide physicians with decision support in real time.

American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
Komen has a longstanding relationship with AACR, dating back to 2007, through which we have provided support for scientific conferences, awards, educational programming. AACR kicked off the Rally for Medical Research at their 2013 annual meeting. Komen was proud to be a sponsor of this groundbreaking event!

Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC)
Komen is a supporter of the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium, a collaboration of 16 research centers that tests novel, laboratory-based strategies, but also attempts to understand the underlying causes and biology of breast cancer. Most, if not all, of the TBCRC trials have a specimen submission or tissue banking component.

Conferences for Researchers, Survivors and Advocates
Susan G. Komen funds travel scholarships and makes grants to conference general support for many meetings across the globe that help survivors get the most up to date information, interact with others who have shared experiences and bring the top researchers together to share information.  Among these are, Conference for Young WomenAnnual Conference for Women Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer, and the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network’s National Conference.

In addition, we fund scientific meetings, conferences and workshops providing general conference support, travel scholarships, educational sessions, and scientific achievement awards. Some of these meetings include the following:

  • Advanced Breast Cancer International Consensus Conference
  • Accelerating Anticancer Agent Development and Validation Workshop
  • San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
  • AACR International Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities
  • AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research.


Blog Date_22

The financial burden of breast cancer can be as difficult to overcome as the disease itself.  Komen has programs that can help with the financial stress.

Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) was established in 1996 as a national 501(c)3 organization with a mission of “safeguarding patients through effective mediation assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability.”  The Patient Advocate Foundation offers two treatment assistance programs.

  • For patients diagnosed with breast cancer, the PAF Co-Pay Relief Program, provides direct financial assistance to insured patients who meet certain qualifications to help them pay for the prescriptions and/or treatments they need. This assistance helps patients afford the out-of-pocket costs for these items that their insurance companies require.
  • The PAF/Komen Treatment Assistance Program Financial Aid Fund is a onetime $300 grant which is available to provide assistance with certain non-medical expenses incurred by breast cancer patients. Qualified patients must have a diagnosis of breast cancer within the past two years and the diagnosis must be verified by a physician.

To learn more about these programs and other helpful resources, call Komen’s breast care helpline at 1-877-GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636).   When you call, you will speak with trained and caring staff that can help navigate you through breast cancer information as well as help you find resources.

Blog Date_22

Most breast cancers are not related to genes or family history. In fact, only 5-10% of all breast cancers diagnosed in the U.S. are thought to be hereditary.  So, who really needs to be concerned about this and who should consider genetic testing?  Talking to your health care provider is the best way to understand your (or your family’s) risk of hereditary breast cancer.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BReast CAncer genes 1 and 2) are the best-known genes linked to breast cancer risk. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are rare in the general U.S. population (about 1 in 400 people have one of these mutations). Women in the general U.S. population have about an 8% chance of developing breast cancer by age 70. Women who have a BRCA1 gene mutation, however, have a 50-70% chance of developing breast cancer by age 70. For women who have a BRCA2 mutation, estimates of risk range from 40-60% by age 70.  Although women who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation have a greatly increased risk of breast cancer compared to those who do not, some women with a mutation will never get breast cancer.

BRCA2 (and possibly BRCA1) mutations also increase the risk of male breast cancer. In the general U.S. population, about 1 in 1,000 men will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Among men with a BRCA2 mutation however, about 65 in 1,000 will develop breast cancer. Although only 5-10% of female breast cancers are thought to be due to gene mutations, up to 40% of male breast cancers may be related to BRCA2 mutations. This means that men who develop breast cancer are more likely to have an inherited gene mutation.

Genetic testing gives people the chance to learn if their breast cancer or their family history (parent, sibling, child, grandparent, grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece or first cousin) of breast cancer is due to an inherited gene mutation. Genetic testing is recommended only for certain people:

  • You or a family member  diagnosed with breast cancer at age 45 or younger
  • A family member diagnosed with ovarian cancer at any age
  • A personal or family history of both breast and ovarian cancers on the same side of the family
  • A personal or family history of male breast cancer
  • Ashkenazi Jewish heritage (as well as a family history of breast or ovarian cancer)
  • A personal or family history of bilateral breast cancer (cancer in both breasts)

In most cases, testing is first done on the person with breast cancer. If no mutation is found in that person, the cancer was probably not due to a BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation and other family members do not need to be tested. If a mutation is found, other family members can be tested for the specific BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation found in the person with breast cancer. It is not likely that all family members will have the mutation.

If you are considering genetic testing, it is important to talk to your health care provider or a genetic counselor to determine whether testing for BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 mutations is appropriate for you.

Source: Facts for Life-Genetics and Breast Cancer, www.komen.org

Blog Date_22

Sponsors are the financial back bone to many of the events we do. The monies raised through sponsorship continue to allow the Idaho Affiliate to grant out valuable, life-saving funds to breast health providers in our North, Southwestern and Central Idaho service area.  75% of the net funds raised stay in our local community to provide education, screening and diagnostic mammography and patient assistance for women and men who are underinsured and underserved; and the remaining 25% is sent to the Susan G. Komen National Research Fund for ground breaking research grants.  Sponsorships play a major role in the work of Komen Idaho. They allow the Affiliate to host events and give the maximum amount of money back to local health care providers for education, mammography and patient assistance.

Here are some of the recent Komen Idaho sponsors who have made an impact in the fight against breast cancer:

2014 Boise Race for the Cure Sponsors:


Saint Alphonsus

St Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute


Mix 106

Wow 104.3

Lite 107.9

Kiss FM 103.5

KIDO 580

630 The Fam


Healthy Idaho

The Human Bean

Fred Meyer

Body Building.com

Davies Moore

Kendall Ford of Meridian


Key Bank

Shu’s Idaho Running Co

Idaho Central Credit Union


Integrity Audio Visual

Sarah Bolender, MD


Better Life Chiropractic

Boise Outlets

Chipotle Mexican Grill

Gem Tek Pest Control

Great Floors

Northwest Farm Credit Services

Seniors Blue Book of Idaho

Tates Rents and Tates Tents & events

Treasure Valley Ford Stores

Vein Center of Idaho

A Company Portable Restrooms

Action Couriers

Boise Public Works

Butte Fence, Inc

Catapult 3

Cloverdale Storage

Creative Balloons of Idaho

Downtown Storage and records Management

Edwards Greenhouse

ESP Printing and Mailing

Idaho Power Company, Employee Community Fund

Injury Care Medical Center

In the Bag Promotions



Perfect Computing, Inc

Ram Restaurant and Brewery

Republic Services

Sawtooth Photo Pros

Swire Coca-Cola

Traffic Products and Services

US Bank

Western Trophy & Engraving

Wigod Plastic Surgery, PA

2014 Coeur d’Alene Race for the Cure Sponsors:

Kootenai Health

Kiss 98.1

Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine

Texas Roadhouse

Coeur d’Alene Press

Great Floors

Kootenai Outpatient Imaging

Fred Meyer

Minimally Invasive Surgery


Jennifer Haas Photography

Springhill Suites by Marriott – Coeur d’Alene

Action Printers

Beamis Excavating

Clearwater Springs Bottled Water & Water Treatment

Coeur d’Alene Paving

Cogo Capital, The Private Money Company

Henneberg & Kim OBGYN

Lake City Physical Therapy

North Idaho Wellness Magazine

Washington Trust Bank

Western Trophy & Engraving

2014 Boise Survivor Celebration Sponsors:

Fred Meyer

Petso Financial Consultants

Hampton Inn and Suites

Lilly Jane Cupcakes

2014 Coeur d’Alene Survivor Celebration Sponsors:

Fred Meyer

Kootenai Outpatient Imaging

Creative Touch Floral


Blog Date_7

Komen Idaho provides services in 28 counties in Idaho, stretching over 54,000 square miles. We have an office in Boise but spend a lot of time on the road in North Idaho, the Magic Valley, and everywhere in between.  We are often asked how four employees can do so much in such a vast service area.  The answer is simple…volunteers!

Volunteers are essential to work of Komen Idaho. Our volunteers come in all sizes, shapes and colors, but their hearts are pink and their caring has no limit. Our volunteers do a variety of tasks and donate their talents in many ways.  We have one volunteer who comes in the office one day every week to assist with administrative tasks – Lois is a key member of our team.  We have other volunteers that serve on our Race Committees.  The Boise Race for the Cure and the Coeur d’Alene Race for the Cure both have Race Committees full of active individuals helping make those events a huge success. Our Board of Directors is all volunteers who led their expertise and guidance. Other volunteers serve as Pink Ambassadors and help us at outreach and education events.

In any given year, we estimate that more than 700 people volunteer with Komen Idaho. They are the reason we are able to be successful and provide services throughout the majority of Idaho. They are the reason we are able to continue to fight against breast cancer.

Are you a leader, a thinker or a doer? Use your talents in our promise to save lives and end breast cancer forever! We need you now more than ever. Volunteers provide countless hours contributing their skills to further the Susan G. Komen® promise. We will work with your availability. Every minute you spend helping gives another minute of hope to those affected by breast cancer. To join our team as a volunteer visit http://komenidahomont.wpengine.com/get-involved/volunteer/.

Thank you volunteers for all you do!

Blog Date_22

It seems like you can’t turn on the news these days without hearing about a new breast cancer screening or new recommendations for mammography. With all the conflicting reports it can be difficult to know what screening option is the best for you. As always, you should talk to your physician about your personal risk factors and decide what screening is right for you. Here is a basic review of the different types of screenings and recommendations.

Clinical Breast Exam (CBE): A CBE is done by a health care provider who checks your breasts and underarm areas for any lumps or changes. It should be part of your regular medical checkup. If you are 40 or older, have your mammogram close to the time of your CBE. For women ages 20-39, have a CBE at least every three years. For women 40 and older, CBE combined with mammography may find more breast cancers than mammography alone. When used together, fewer breast cancers are missed.

Mammography: A mammogram is an X-ray image of the breast. Mammography is the tool that uses X-rays to create mammograms. It is used to find early signs of breast cancer. It is the best screening tool used today to find breast cancer. It can find breast cancer early when it is small and the chance of survival is highest. Starting at age 40, women should get a screening mammogram every year. Women under 40 with a family history of breast cancer or other concerns should discuss with their doctor what screening tests are right for them.

MRI: A breast MRI uses magnetic fields to create an image of the breast. It can sometimes find cancers in dense breasts that are not seen on mammograms. Breast MRI is often used with mammography for screening some women at a high risk of breast cancer. However, it can be costly and often finds something that looks abnormal, but turns out to be benign (false positive).

Thermography: Thermography uses infrared light to measure temperature differences on the surface of the breast. Although breast cancer can cause abnormal heat patterns, many benign conditions also cause abnormal heat patterns. Thermography cannot distinguish between benign and cancerous patterns. Since thermography measures heat at the surface of the breast, it is not good at finding cancers deeper within the breast tissue. Neither the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nor the American College of Radiology view thermography as a useful breast screening or imaging tool. In 2011, the FDA issued an alert warning the public about misleading claims by thermography practitioners and manufacturers on the screening benefits of the tool.

Ultrasound: Ultrasound uses sound waves to make images of the breast. It is often used as a follow-up test after an abnormal finding on a mammogram, breast MRI or clinical breast exam. When used on the breast, ultrasound can tell the difference between types of lumps, such as liquid-filled cysts and a solid mass. Doctors use this to find out the size, shape, texture and density of a breast lump.

Blog Date_29

Many factors are linked to breast cancer risk. Some factors affect risk a great deal and others by only a small amount. Some risk factors you can’t change. For example, the two most common risk factors for breast cancer, being a woman and getting older, are not things you can change. Other factors you may be able to control. For example, leading a healthy lifestyle may help lower your chances of getting breast cancer.

Understanding which factors may affect your risk can help you work with your health care provider to address any concerns you may have and develop a breast cancer screening plan that is right for you.  Except for skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, but it can be successfully treated. Screening tests can find cancer early, when chances for survival are highest.

Know your risk 

Get screened

  • Have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40
  • Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk

 Know what is normal for you, see your health care provider if you notice any of these breast changes:

  • Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

Make healthy lifestyle choices

Susan G. Komen® was born on a promise. Ambassador Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen, promised her dying sister Susan Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer. Susan G. Komen’s mission is to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all, and energizing science to find the cures.

The Komen Idaho Affiliate’s achievements are seen throughout the service area. The Affiliate has played a critical role in supporting the 28 county service area grantees with funding for breast health education, screening and diagnostics, and patient assistance programs. If you or someone you know needs a mammogram, we can help, call the Komen Idaho office at 208-384-0013 or 877-665-9088.

Blog Date_22

Breast cancer is often referred to as a single disease. But, there are many types of breast cancer. It can even be called a family of diseases. All breast cancers start in the breast. So, they are the same in some ways, but differ in others. The type of breast cancer affects prognosis (outcome) and treatment options. All breast cancer cells are tested for certain proteins (receptors). These tests look for estrogen and progesterone hormones and HER2/neu. If the cells test “positive,” this means there are many receptors. If the cells test “negative,” there are few or none. There are many treatment options for cells that test “positive,” but fewer options for those that don’t. The result of these tests helps guide treatment.  What is triple negative breast cancer?

Triple negative breast cancers (TNBC) are:

  • Estrogen receptor-negative (ER-);
  • Progesterone receptor-negative (PR-); and
  • HER2/neu-negative (HER2-).

So, TNBC does not have any of these receptors that are targets for treatment we have today.

Who gets triple negative breast cancer?

About 15-20 percent of all breast cancers in the U.S. are TNBC. Anyone can get this type of breast cancer. But, research shows that it occurs more often in:

  • Younger women
  • African American women
  • Women who have BRCA1 mutations

What makes triple negative cancer unique?

TNBC is less likely to be found on a mammogram. It is also aggressive. Compared to other breast cancers, it tends to grow faster. It can be treated, but it may recur (come back) early and spread to other parts of the body. Part of the reason is due to the lack of targeted treatments. TNBC has a poorer outcome (at least for the first five years after diagnosis) than estrogen receptor-positive tumors. Still, if breast cancer hasn’t recurred within five years, the chance of survival is higher. This is good news for five-year survivors.

Treatment options

TNBC is treated with a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Because it tests negative for the three receptors mentioned above, it isn’t treated with hormone or targeted therapy. Chemotherapy works well in TNBC. It may work even better for TNBC than for other types of breast cancer. Sometimes chemotherapy is given before surgery. This is called neoadjuvant chemotherapy. This may shrink a tumor enough so that a lumpectomy becomes an option. The response to this treatment may also give information on prognosis. If TNBC responds well, the chance of survival is higher.

Source: Facts For Life: Triple Negative Breast Cancer, Susan G. Komen, www.komen.org

Blog Date

With all the craziness of registration, packet pick-up, volunteer coordination, supply ordering, sponsorship, marketing, etc, it is important to sit back and reflect on the reason why we Race.

R = Raise Money

A = Awareness

C = Celebrate Survivors and remember those we have lost

E = Enjoyment

Raise Money: Did you know that seventy-five percent of the money raised at the Race for the Cure stays in Idaho? The remaining twenty-five percent goes to the Komen National Research Portfolio to fund ground-breaking and life-saving research projects.  The seventy-five percent that stays in Idaho is used to provide assistance to those in need and to raise awareness across the state about breast health and breast cancer.

Awareness: Race for the Cure is the perfect time to raise awareness about breast health and breast cancer.  The Race Expo, on Race day, is a great place to go for education. Our sponsors and grantees will fill the Expo Area with information and giveaways.  Look for the I Am The Cure booth for your current breast health information.

Celebrate Survivors and remembers those we have lost: Survivors are amazing and they will be out in force on Race day.  We have hundreds of amazing and wonderful survivors come to Race and let us celebrate with them.  Some are newly diagnosed, still in treatment and others have been survivors for many years, all are a reason to celebrate! Race is also a great time to reflect and remember those who we have lost to breast cancer. Walking and running in memory of our loved ones is inspiring and touching.

Enjoyment: Race is fun! Thousands of people all coming out for the same cause, the excitement is contagious. Bring your friends and family and join us for Race for the Cure – you don’t want to miss it!

Blog DateWelcome to the Komen Idaho blog, a place for motivation, education, and knowledge; an opportunity for us to share, inspire, and inform. Komen Idaho will post to the blog weekly and on occasion invite guest bloggers to participate and lend their talents. If there are specific topics you would like to see in the blog, feel free to let us know, email us at sgkinfo@komenidaho.org. Our mission is to empower people to take charge of their health care through awareness and early detection; ensure quality care for all regardless of race, ethnicity, background, language, etc; and energize science to find the causes and cures of breast cancer.

Today’s post is about celebration and community support.  Do you know what happens to the money raised at Race for the Cure and other events throughout the year? Twenty-five percent of all money raised in Idaho goes to the Komen National Research Portfolio to fund groundbreaking and life saving research.  The remaining seventy-five percent stays right here in Idaho. This year because of the money YOU raised we are able to provide $250,000 in community grants.  Our grantees are hospitals, clinics, and organizations that provide screening mammograms, diagnostic services, and patient assistance programs to the men and women in Idaho.

So who are these grantees and what do they provide?

Community Cancer Services: Enriched Recovery Program for Breast Cancer Survivors

Assisting people who lack health insurance or otherwise have inadequate access to cancer care services by providing financial support and advocacy to help clients and their families.

Glenns Ferry Health Center, Inc.: Journey to Breast Health

Ensuring low-income, uninsured women requiring a mammogram can obtain one free of charge.

Kootenai Health: Breast Imaging Support Program

Providing funds for underserved, uninsured or underinsured men and women in need of lifesaving screening and diagnostic mammography services.

Kootenai Health: Breast Cancer Patient Support

Providing funds to help with essential living expenses and treatment support including child care, gas, groceries, transportation, medications, rent, medical equipment and supplies, and nutritional support.

Minidoka Memorial Hospital: Minidoka County’s 1st Defense Against Breast Cancer

Providing free mammogram services for underserved, culturally diverse and limited English speaking women.

North Canyon Medical Center: Rural Care for Low to Middle Income Women

Providing free mammogram and diagnostic service to women who cannot afford them, with the intention of reducing the number of late stage breast cancers and promoting breast health awareness in their region.

Panhandle Health District: Screening and Education for Early Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

Providing a clinical breast exam, appointment, and voucher for mammography and/or ultrasound to low income, uninsured residents of North Idaho.

Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center Breast Care Center: Breast Cancer Early Detection for the Underserved

Providing low-income patients access to breast cancer screening and diagnostic imaging procedures. Reducing disparities in early detection and successful treatment of breast cancer, especially among poor, underserved and rural residents by reducing financial barriers.

Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center Cancer Care Center: Breast Cancer Patient Assistance Fund

Supporting financially disadvantages patients living with a breast cancer diagnosis to fulfill basic needs for housing and other living essentials, maintain adequate nutrition, preserve communication with medical teams and support networks, access treatment centers, and obtain supplies necessary for rehabilitation.

St. Luke’s McCall Foundation: Miraculous Mammography

Increasing the health of women through screening and diagnostic services for uninsured patients, financial support for breast cancer patients, outreach and education through breast buddies targeted to Adams and Idaho counties, and miraculous mammography promotion sharing patient stories to humanize and localize the impact of early detection.

St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute Breast Care Services: St. Luke’s Breast Care Services Funding Program

Providing a full-spectrum of services including screening, diagnostics, surgery, treatment, education and navigation, reconstruction and survivorship. Providing a financial resource to patients thus reducing the financial barrier to care patients have as an obstacle for wellness and health.

St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute: Providing concrete services for breast cancer patients during and 3 months following treatment

Assisting with monthly bills for underserved breast cancer patients who are struggling with being able to work due to surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment.

St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation: St. Luke’s Wood River Breast Screening for the Uninsured and Underinsured Women Project

Providing advanced breast imaging technology to all women, decreasing incidence of cancer and death by providing access to mammogram screenings.

Terry Reilly Health Services: Terry Reilly Komen for the Cure

Providing breast cancer screening mammography vouchers to low-income, medically underserved women.

Since 1999, through our community grants programs Komen Idaho has funded 17,780 mammograms, 9,775 clinical breast exams, and 2,668 women have received diagnostic services.  These numbers are impressive and a direct result of the work you do to help us achieve our mission and end breast cancer forever.


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