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Susan G. Komen founder shares concerns about decrease in breast cancer screenings since pandemic

80 percent decrease in screenings during the pandemic, CDC reports
Nancy Brinker
Posted at 4:03 PM, Oct 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-04 17:53:18-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The news that Florida's first lady has been diagnosed with breast cancer is a reminder that no one is immune to it.

Little is known about the stage of her diagnosis, but in a statement, the governor said Monday that, "Casey is a true fighter, and she will never, never, never give up."

SPECIAL SECTION: Breast Cancer Awareness

The announcement came during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and is shining a light on a disease that does not discriminate.

"It's a little bit like an explosive going off in your life, it really is. It feels like someone threw a bomb at you," said Susan G. Komen founder Nancy Brinker.

Nancy Brinker with sister Susan G. Komen
Nancy Brinker created the Susan G. Komen organization in honor of her sister, who died at the age of 36 from breast cancer.

Brinker remembers when she received that dreaded diagnosis.

"It's going to be a journey, it always is when you develop this disease. I was very young in developing it as well. I was 38, three years after my sister died," Brinker said.

Brinker's sister was Susan G. Komen, who died at age 36 from breast cancer. She has spent most of her life hoping to keep the promises she made to her sister on fighting this brutal disease.

"I'm very concerned, however, about the amount of disparities in the United States today," Brinker said. "We still have 42,000 women who die every year of breast cancer, 250,000 diagnosed."

There is huge concern about what impact the pandemic will have on future breast cancer cases. The CDC reports a more than 80 percent decrease in screenings during the pandemic.

Radiologist checks mammograms
In this May 6, 2010 file photo, a radiologist checks mammograms in Los Angeles.

"I'm just worried what is going to result from that," Brinker said.

Brinker said the Promise Fund of Florida -- an organization she co-founded -- is working with FoundCare and other organizations to provide screenings to women in Palm Beach County.

"It is reported that we have 80,000 women who have never had any kind of screening," Brinker said.

She hopes more women will get screened during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

"At the end of the day, it's still the best technique to detect early breast cancer," Brinker said.