Our Bold Goal

We have made significant progress against breast cancer over the past 30 years. Advances in early detection and treatment improved the mortality rate for breast cancer by 40% between 1989 and 2017. Despite these advances, this year alone, more than 42,000 people in the U.S. will lose their lives to breast cancer. That’s the equivalent of a sold-out major league baseball stadium disappearing — every year. And one in eight women in the U.S. is expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her lifetime.

At Susan G. Komen®, we are focused on saving lives, which prioritizes our work around metastatic breast cancer, aggressive forms of breast cancer and the disparities in breast cancer outcomes that still exist. To help ignite an increased sense of urgency among the broader breast cancer community and to inspire greater alignment among all of our work, in the fall of 2016 Susan G. Komen set a Bold Goal to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths in the U.S. by 50% by 2026.

Serving as our north star, this Bold Goal is both audacious and achievable. To achieve it, we have two priorities:

  1. Finding breakthroughs for the most aggressive and deadly breast cancers by investing in research that will help us better understand metastatic breast cancer – including why some forms of breast cancer are more aggressive than others and why some breast cancers are resistant to current treatment options – so that we can find better ways to prevent, detect and treat metastatic breast cancer.
  2. Ensuring all people receive the care they need. We support those facing the disease today through a variety of patient-centered services. We are removing barriers to timely, high-quality health care by providing access to breast cancer screening, diagnosis, patient navigation, treatment and education programs.

While focusing on these two strategic imperatives, Komen is applying a comprehensive 360-degree approach to fighting breast cancer by investing in research, mobilizing communities impacted by breast cancer, providing access to the care patients need and taking action through advocacy and public policy.

We know it will take time to see a significant drop in the number of breast cancer deaths. However, every life is important, and we won’t stop our work until no one dies from breast cancer. Until that day, we will continue to measure progress toward our Bold Goal and advances made to save lives.

Key Performance Indicator Baseline Current 2026 Target
 Breast Cancer Mortality  40,450


Susan G. Komen is focused on funding research that will find new, improved ways to treat, detect and prevent breast cancer, particularly for those breast cancers that are aggressive and those that have become metastatic. In addition, we fund research that will help us understand disparities in breast cancer outcomes and help us achieve health equity across all populations.

Last year, nearly 70% of Komen’s research grants focused on metastasis. Our competitive research program was specifically focused on the understanding, detection and treatment of metastatic (Stage IV) breast cancer. This year, we are focused on redefining metastatic breast cancer through liquid biopsy. We believe that by using a sample of blood to detect cancer cells, or tumor markers, we have the potential to predict treatment response and guide precision medicine. Yet more research is needed before it can become common practice in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Ultimately, we envision a day where doctors can use a small sample of blood to detect metastatic disease even before symptoms arise, monitor treatment response in real time and develop a more personalized treatment plan for metastatic breast cancer patients.

One way we track the impact of our research programs is by identifying the “products” of our research projects. Research products can be a new drug or treatment, a new drug target, risk gene, risk factor, biomarker or a new technology. In 2018, Komen’s research pipeline included 130 early detection technologies or treatments and 118 new treatments, primarily for aggressive and metastatic breast cancers.

Research product development is important, but it’s only effective if these research products move through the research and development pipeline – from basic research to pre-clinical research to clinical testing to FDA review and approval and ultimately, to patients. While not all products will move from one stage to another in the course of a typical research grant, we track the progression of our research products to ensure our research findings are moving through the research and development pipeline. Our goal is to have three new Komen-funded technologies or treatments in clinical validation by the end of 2026.

Where someone lives can directly impact the type of care and treatment a patient receives when diagnosed with breast cancer. Komen’s Scientific Advisors have estimated that up to 30% of breast cancer deaths could be prevented if all breast cancer patients, regardless of their location, race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status could receive the same high-quality breast cancer care that is currently available. Susan G. Komen’s community health programs focus on helping people get diagnosis and care in a timely manner by providing free or low-cost services, transportation, education, translation and patient navigation.

Ensuring all people receive the support they need while going through breast cancer treatment is fundamental to reaching our Bold Goal. Komen’s Breast Care Helpline provides free, professional support services to anyone with breast cancer questions or concerns, including breast health and breast cancer information, psychosocial support, information about national and local organizations and resources that may provide financial assistance and other support services. Additionally, our Clinical Trial Information Helpline provides clinical trial information, resources and support for callers interested in learning more or participating in a clinical trial. In FY2019, Komen supported nearly 15,000 people through these helplines.

The Komen Treatment Assistance Program offers financial assistance and other support to those in breast cancer treatment to help address barriers, such as transportation and childcare costs, that may prevent them from completing their treatment. Staying in treatment is associated with better outcomes.

We know that a person’s chances for long term survival are increased if their breast cancer is diagnosed early and treatment begins before it has spread to lymph nodes or other organs. One way we measure our impact in communities is by tracking the rates of late-stage diagnosis of breast cancer, which is defined as the proportion of breast cancers that are diagnosed at Stage III or Stage IV. The lower this rate, the more breast cancers are diagnosed at earlier stages. This measures if our programs help to reduce the rates of late-stage breast cancer and compares it to national rates. The current data show that we are seeing an improvement in the percentage of early stage diagnoses from Komen-funded programs, which should help reduce mortality.

If a patient can get from an abnormal finding to diagnosis and into treatment within 60 days, they will have better outcomes than if it takes longer to get to treatment. In fact, data suggest that for every 30-day extension to starting treatment, there’s a 10% higher chance of the breast cancer spreading and becoming metastatic. We are measuring the amount of time it takes a patient to go from abnormal finding to diagnosis and treatment, with the goal for all Komen-supported programs to be within 60 days.

In addition to timely access to diagnosis and care, the quality of care is also important to produce better health outcomes. Facilities that carry specific medical accreditations are more likely to provide high-quality care and follow current treatment guidelines. Therefore, we also measure the percentage of our services that are provided at accredited facilities as an indicator of high-quality care. The percentage of services provided at accredited facilities should increase over time with the goal of reaching 100% of Komen-funded care being provided at accredited facilities by 2026.

Key Performance Indicator Baseline Current  2026 Target
 Late Stage Diagnosis National Rate: 43.7
Komen-funded sites: 42.8%
National Rate: TBD*
Sites: 37.7%
National Rate: 42.2
Sites: <37.3%
 Time to Care Less than 60 days  85%

 *NAACCR update pending

The Komen community is made up of the people who are with us in the fight against breast cancer – those living with metastatic breast cancer, survivors and co-survivors. We provide people with opportunities to share their passion for the movement and compassion for each other. We provide information and guidance to help navigate the care journey.

Komen Affiliates offer the Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Impact Series – a series of events held across the country to educate, empower and connect metastatic breast cancer patients with information, resources and others in the metastatic breast cancer community. Programs offer topical discussions specifically for people with metastatic breast cancer and their loved ones.

Key Performance Indicator Baseline Current 2026 Target
Affiliates hosting MBC Events 1.9%


Susan G. Komen mobilizes our communities to take action through public policy and advocacy, increasing our presence and expanding our participation in federal and state policy across the country. We know that strong advocacy is crucial for making the broad, systemic and lasting change required to achieve our Bold Goal. Public policy plays a significant role in breast cancer research, treatment and patients’ access to affordable care. We know that in order to save lives, everyone must have access to high-quality and affordable care. Yet, many patients face barriers preventing them from getting the care that might save their lives.

Komen advocates in states across the country and at the federal level to pass meaningful legislation so that everyone – regardless of age, gender, race and socioeconomic status – can get the care they need. Komen continues to educate policymakers about how high and confusing out-of-pocket costs for diagnostic breast imaging is contributing to late-state diagnosis and delayed treatment, advocating for polices to eliminate this financial barrier. Additionally, our advocates work to eliminate time-wasting step therapy protocols for people living with metastatic breast cancer, expand Medicaid coverage and create parity between oral chemotherapy and traditional IV therapies, among other policy accomplishments.

We continue to grow our grassroots advocacy network through our new advocacy platforms and engagement strategies We know increasing the number of our advocates directly correlates to our impact within state and federal governments, as the more voices legislators hear advocating for our priority issues, the better the chance of effecting change.

Key Performance Indicator Baseline Current 2026 Target
Grassroots Advocacy
(2018 Launch)


Thank you for your support toward helping us reach our Bold Goal! As you know, finding the cures for breast cancer is a social imperative – in the U.S. 116 families lose a family member to breast cancer every day. Because of your support, we are making progress towards our Bold Goal to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths in the U.S. by 50% by 2026. And with your help, we will continue to do so by investing in research, mobilizing our communities, providing access to the care that patients need and taking action through advocacy.

Updated February 2020

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