JDC’s Women’s Health Empowerment Program in Russia focuses on breast cancer as the most common cause of death among Russian women, ages 45 to 55
On May 18 and May 19, 2009, more than 150 medical professionals, NGO representatives, representatives on a State level, mainly from the Ministry of Health and Social Development, research scientists, breast cancer survivors, and activists from Moscow and Central Russia will join forces in the battle against breast cancer at the InfoSpace International Exhibition Center in Moscow.
The two-day conference is hosted by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)’s Women’s Health Empowerment Program (WHEP) and its partner, Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the world’s largest and most progressive grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists.
The Conference will present the results of two years of WHEP’s initiatives in Russia, as well as discussing the current state of breast cancer, and the battle against this disease that is diagnosed in 50,000 women every year and is the most common cause of death among Russian women, ages 45 to 55. In fact, almost every second woman in Russia who is diagnosed with breast cancer dies. The main focus will be on the importance of early detection in Russia, as a catalyst to reduce mortality rates, ways to improve treatment, the importance of doctor to patient communication, rehabilitation, and social services for breast cancer patients.
Featured speakers include: Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, Founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure; Mr. Alik Nadan, JDC’s Representative for Moscow and Central Russia; Professor Nadezda Rozkova, Chief Mammologist of Russian Federation, Head of Federal Mammology Center; Professor David Zaridze, President of Anticancer Society, Director of the Russian Institute of Carcinogenesis, and Ms. Natalya Vartapetova, Director of Institute for Family Health.
“Our partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure gives our Women’s Health Empowerment Program even more strength in the battle against breast cancer,” said Steven Schwager, JDC Chief Executive Officer. “Due to late-stage diagnosis of breast cancers, many Russian women identify their condition as a death sentence. Clearly, women fear the diagnosis to the point where they prefer to look the other way rather than taking action. JDC’s WHEP in Russia provides life-saving knowledge about the disease, prevention measures and counseling.”
“It is only through global collaboration that we can help women everywhere break their silence and take control of their health,” said Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, Founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. “We are in the early days of a global cancer tsunami, with more than 1.3 million women facing a breast cancer in the coming year alone. Education, awareness and early screening are proven, effective tools in this global battle to save the lives of our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and daughters, in Russia and around the world.”
Conference Roundtables will cover: role of NGOs, patient oriented organizations, and advocates in the fight against breast cancer in Russia; areas of cooperation with the medical community and the State; rehabilitation services for women with breast cancer, the need versus the reality, and next steps, and the importance of early detection and WHEP’s role in changing women’s attitudes towards their health.
One of the major outcomes of the Conference will be the work on and adoption of a Plan of Action to be submitted to the Ministry of Health and Social Development after adjournment. JDC’s WHEP Russia has identified the major issues, action items for response, and recommendations for implementation. Focal issues include: the role NGOs, the medical community and local Health Ministry should play in the fight against breast cancer, especially in promoting early detection; provision of psycho-social support services; improvement of the doctor-patient relationship, and mandatory services that should be provided by the State to women following mastectomy, as well as other rehabilitation services.
About Susan G. Komen for the Cure®
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which is now the world’s largest breast cancer organization and the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer with more than $1.3 billion invested to date. The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Global Promise Fund is dedicated to reaching underserved people in areas where breast cancer death rates are highest by increasing breast health awareness; improving access to detection and treatment; recruiting and funding medical staff; providing services to breast cancer survivors and their families, and recruiting and training lay ambassadors to promote breast cancer awareness and treatment messages in underserved areas around the globe. For more information about Susan G. Komen for the Cure, breast health or breast cancer, visit http://www.komen.org/ or call 1-877 GO KOMEN.
About JDC’s Women’s Health Empowerment Program (WHEP)
Established in 1995, JDC’s Women’s Health Empowerment Program (WHEP) is an innovative overseas public education movement that encourages the early detection of breast cancer, when it is treated more easily. The Program builds leadership, creates new services, such as support groups and hotlines, strengthens doctor to patient communication, and facilitates partnerships among government agencies, NGOs and the medical and health community. WHEP projects have been carried out in communities throughout the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. In 2004, JDC partnered with Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the world’s largest and most progressive grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists, to re-launch a program in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 2006, WHEP was expanded to Hungary, and in 2007, it expanded into Russia. Following the First WHEP Regional Conference for former Yugoslavia (Sarajevo, April 2008), JDC and Komen decided to expand activities to Montenegro. WHEP Montenegro will be officially launched in May 2009.