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Removing Barriers: Susan G. Komen® Launches Stand for H.E.R – A Health Equity Revolution Impact Report

The report outlines the organization’s comprehensive approach for achieving breast health equity in the Black community.

Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, has launched the Stand for H.E.R. – A Health Equity Revolution Breast Cancer Impact Report. This transformative report not only exposes the stark breast cancer health disparities faced by Black women in the United States, but also details Komen’s concerted efforts to help dismantle these barriers and foster community relationships to create systemic change.

Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer among Black women in the U.S., and alarming statistics reveal that Black women in the U.S. are about 40% more likely than white women to die of breast cancer. Black women are also diagnosed younger and are more likely to be diagnosed with more aggressive forms of the disease than white women. Aside from differences in tumor biology, factors such as implicit bias, substandard care and systemic racism contribute significantly to this discrepancy.

“Black women continue to face significant barriers to breast cancer care, regardless of what age they are, if they’re insured or where they live,” said Paula Schneider, president and CEO of Susan G. Komen. “As highlighted in our report, the Stand for H.E.R. program creates a scalable model to support marginalized populations experiencing breast health inequities. It calls on us to create a world where everyone has access to high-quality care and the same chance of survival.”

Building on decades of work in health equity, Komen launched Stand for H.E.R. – A Health Equity Revolution in 2021, a program designed to remove barriers to high-quality breast care for Black women across the U.S. using five key health equity drivers of change: Patient Support, Education, Workforce Development, Research, and Public Policy and Advocacy. The Stand for H.E.R. Impact Report showcases Komen’s progress and commitment to achieving health equity for the Black community through these key drivers:

Patient Support: Bridging the Gap with Individualized Care and Financial Assistance

  • Breast cancer is the most expensive cancer to treat in the U.S., and this financial burden is felt acutely by the Black community as a result of systemic barriers to care. Komen’s Patient Care Center provides direct support to Black patients through highly trained, culturally responsive patient navigators.
  • Komen’s Financial Assistance Program has supported almost 9,000 Black patients including those living with metastatic breast cancer, providing over $4.7 million over the past three years to cover daily living expenses such as housing, transportation, groceries and more so they can complete their lifesaving treatments.

Education: Empowering through Knowledge and Community

  • Through Stand for H.E.R., Komen offers culturally relevant and responsive educational resources and programs to equip Black people with accurate knowledge about breast health. Topics include understanding your risk of breast cancer, screening basics, getting high-quality care and genetic counseling and testing (GCT).
  • Data shows that Black women are less likely to be referred to GCT services than white women. In the last year, 204 Black individuals received genetic counseling, and 187 completed genetic testing to empower them with information about their health.

Workforce Development: Shaping the Future of Healthcare Leadership

  • Despite improvements in the educational pipeline, people of color are still underrepresented in the health care workforce, including within scientific research where treatments are discovered. Komen supports the professional development of young scientists from underrepresented communities through research grants like ASPIRE (A Supplement to Promote Inclusion for Research Excellence).
  • The Komen Patient Navigation Training Program educated over 1,000 Black patient navigators from 2022-2023, enhancing their ability to address barriers to care that lead to inequities.

Research: Advancing Health Equity through Research

  • To date, Komen has invested nearly $140 million in over 320 research grants and nearly 190 clinical trials focused on advancing critical disparities research. Komen’s Advocates in Science program trains diverse patient advocates to participate as active members of breast cancer research, guiding studies and clinical trials to bring the patient voice to research ensuring that all patients are represented in and benefit from research discoveries.

Public Policy and Advocacy: Supporting Voices for Systemic Change

  • Komen’s Speak Truth to Power program educates Black community leaders and advocates about the role of policy in addressing breast cancer disparities, bringing together more than 300 advocates since its creation in 2019. By elevating advocate voices, the Center for Public Policy has supported 56 federal bills this year.  

While Komen’s Stand for H.E.R. program has made a significant impact, the battle is far from over. To learn more about these efforts through the true stories of women who have been impacted by this work, read the Stand for H.E.R. Breast Cancer Impact Report.

For more information on Komen’s efforts to close the breast cancer health equity gap for the Black community and make quality care available to all, visit