History of Susan G. Komen and Breast Cancer Research

History of Susan G. Komen

Susan G. Komen was founded in 1982 by Nancy Brinker, sister of Susan G. Komen. At the age of 33, Suzy was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Nancy made a promise to her sister that she would do everything possible to end the shame, pain, fear and hopelessness caused by the disease. Following the death of Suzy in 1980, Nancy Brinker kept the promise and has changed the lives of many women. Susan G. Komen prompted a wave of advancements in breast cancer research that is continually advancing today.

As part of Susan G. Komen, Brinker began the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Series. The first race took place in Dallas, Texas with 800 participants. Today the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure has become the world’s largest and most successful education and fundraising event for breast cancer.  At Komen North and West Texas, we host 4 Race for the Cure or MORE THAN PINK Walk events throughout the year:  the North Texas MORE THAN PINK Walk in May, the Amarillo MORE THAN PINK Walk in September, the Wichita Falls Race for the Cure in October, and the Lubbock MORE THAN PINK Walk in October.

Today, Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cure.


History of Breast Cancer Research

In the 1970’s it was believed that a total mastectomy was the universal standard treatment for breast cancer. Doctors were not aware that each case of breast cancer is unique, and that treatment depends on an individual’s case. Women were given little to no information regarding breast cancer and had minimal resources to turn to.

In the 1990’s, after the establishment of Susan G. Komen, there were several advancements in breast cancer research. Research revealed that there was a genetic link to some breast cancers. It was also discovered that there was more than one way to approach treating breast cancer, prompting the creation of less invasive surgical techniques for patients. During this time breast cancer patients pushed for more federal funding for research, leading to many of the advancements seen at the beginning of the 2000’s.

Between 2000 and 2020 there have been big steps taken in breast cancer research. In the 2000’s researchers discovered that there are breast cancer subtypes based on sets of genetic changes This discovery led to the creation of genetic testing to help determine which patients need a more aggressive treatment approach.

Some of the most recent advancements include new treatments for HER2+ breast cancer and the finding that 70 percent of women with early stage HER2 negative breast cancers can forgo chemotherapy and its toxic side effects. There have also been advancements in advocacy. The EARLY Act, passed by congress, requires breast cancer education for women under 40.

These advancements are only possible through the dedication and passion of our volunteers, sponsor, fundraisers, and supporters.  In order to continue to fight this disease and find new, ground-breaking treatments, we need your help.  Register today for the North Texas MORE THAN PINK Walk, and start fundraising.  In addition to earning some cool prizes, you’ll also be helping us to invest more in the services like mammograms, diagnostics, and treatment for women and men facing this disease today, as well as the national breast cancer research to find the cures for tomorrow.  Register today.

Also, you can learn more about breast cancer research and Susan G. Komen’s history, please visit komen.org.