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Fighting Breast Cancer Together


GE employees in Orange County, California take part in their local Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure. 


Nancy Brinker, founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Every breast cancer story is unique. If you’ve taken a look at GE Healthcare’s Breast Cancer Mosaic, you’ll know that every story is about the women, and also men, who have battled the disease and survived. But all of these stories reveal the supporting parties: the families, the husbands, the friends, the doctors, and the charities that have helped the survivor get through the process.

Susan G. Komen For The Cure is a breast cancer charity and support group that has two major goals: to support any breast cancer patient who needs it, and to invest in medical research that is so important in understanding the disease and develop better treatment.

Since being founded in 1982 by the sister of breast cancer victim Susan G. Komen, the organization has invested nearly $2 billion in breast cancer research and treatment, support programs and screening initiatives.

Throughout the years, GE Healthcare and its employees have actively supported cancer charities such as the Susan G. Komen Foundation, helping to raise awareness for breast cancer issues. In September 2011, GE and Susan G. Komen For The Cure embarked on a new project together: a global program to help improve access to breast cancer screening for women in low-resource areas of the world.

A lack of education about the disease, insufficient medical resources and sometimes social stigma around breast cancer can cause women to be more reluctant to engage in screening programs or seek help if they develop symptoms. As a result, many arrive for treatment at late stages of the disease, reducing their chances of survival.   

Assembling tools to fight cancer

The GE collaboration with Susan G. Komen coincides with another GE move in the fight against cancer. GE’s companywide healthymagination initiative is a $6 billion long-term drive to increase the availability of medical treatments and tools to individuals across the world. A recent addition to this initiative is the healthymagination Challenge, Assembling Tools to Fight Cancer.

The Challenge is a call to any cancer research scientists, businesses, students and healthcare innovators who believe their work is unique and innovative. The prize? Up to $100 million in research grants, funded by GE and its venture capital partners. As an open call for innovators in oncology to send in their ideas, it is a chance to accelerate innovation on the frontline of the fight against cancer. The current round of the Challenge is open until November 20.

Redesigning the breast cancer experience

The real difference in the fight against cancer is made in the research labs by scientists, and elsewhere by doctors, by families and by the patients themselves. Some of the smaller details surrounding the experience of breast screening can be just as important.

Earlier this month, GE’s Chief Marketing Officer Beth Comstock and a group of renowned designers gathered in New York for a discussion about the feel and ergonomics of the breast cancer screening and diagnosis experience. Every woman needs a mammogram at some stage in her life, but the experience can be stressful and uncomfortable.

To approach this problem, GE’s “For Women, By Women” design installation is giving patients and female designers the opportunity to redesign and rethink the existing approaches to breast screening equipment — an attempt to uncover some of the reasons why many women avoid it.

Breast cancer can be beaten, especially when patients, families and organizations get together and work as one in the move to find better treatments, detection methods and support methods. It is estimated that there were more than1.6 million1 new cases of breast cancer worldwide in 2010, but as we all become more collaborative and look for ways to work together, this can positively impact the survival rates.


1 Forouzanfar MH, Foreman KJ, Delossantos AM, et al. Breast and cervical cancer in 187 countries between 1980 and 2010: a systematic analysis. Lancet. 2011 Sept 15