Breast Cancer Research and Education Awards

Recipients Honored for Work Related to Breast Cancer

ALBANY, NY, May 15, 2007 – State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M. D., today announced the winners of the 2006 Innovation in Breast Cancer Research and Education Awards. The awards are presented annually to individuals, health professionals and non-profit organizations in recognition of their outstanding commitment to breast cancer research and/or education which has had a significant impact on the lives of New York State residents.

The award winners include the Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factor Program of Cornell University in Ithaca; the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center of New York City; Mr. Bob Riter, Ithaca Breast Alliance, Ithaca; Marathon for a Better Life – SUNY Cobleskill and South Fork Breast Health Coalition of Water Mill.

"In New York, we've expanded access to health care coverage for women diagnosed with breast and cervical cancer, approved legislation banning drive-through mastectomies, and created a tax check-off to fund breast cancer research," Dr. Daines said. "Today the survival rate is 97 percent for women diagnosed with breast cancer in its early stages and we aren't stopping there. We will continue to do everything possible to prevent, diagnose early and treat this disease and I am extremely honored to recognize these award winners today. Their dedication to helping men and women with breast cancer and their families is remarkable."

The awards emphasize the importance of the contributions offered by health professionals, consumers and nonprofit organizations to their community. The award recipients demonstrated the highest professional standards for their tireless work addressing breast cancer. The Advisory Council considered their innovation, creativity, and ability to collaborate in their efforts to fight breast cancer in New York.

Dr. Daines said, "The Breast Cancer Research and Education Award winners were selected because of their outstanding contributions to the highest goals of excellence in reaching out and serving those women and their families living with breast cancer. I want to personally thank the honorees for their incredible commitment to provide women diagnosed with breast cancer with expanded access to screening, quality care, and crucial personal and family support."

The Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factor Program of Cornell University will receive the Innovation in Breast Cancer Research and Education Award for its leadership in both research and educational programming over the last ten years, and its commitment to working with the scientific, medical, environmental and advocacy communities. Their public health, science-based program has enabled New York residents to make decisions and take action as individuals and communities to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Located in the heart of Chinatown, the Charles B. Wang Community Center has offered early detection screening services for breast and cervical cancer to a population that otherwise, would not approach medical services. The Charles B. Wang Community Center provides friendly health care services seven days a week in a facility that respects and reflects the culture that it serves.

Mr. Bob Riter's involvement in the breast cancer community began in 1996 when he was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 40. By "going public" with his diagnosis, Bob has provided support to men who are newly diagnosed around the country. He is involved in national and state research and advocacy organizations relating to breast cancer to give a "face" to male breast cancer. Bob has been the Associate Director of the Ithaca Breast Cancer Alliance since 2000, an organization that provides information and support to individuals in and around Tompkins County.

The Marathon for a Better Life, now in its 10th year, raises money to help those cancer patients in need of financial assistance and give people in Schoharie Country an opportunity to help and support those living with breast cancer. This nonprofit organization works closely with the Schoharie County Health Living Partnership by referring eligible women for services.

Vowing that no other woman, or man who was diagnosed with breast cancer on the East End of Long Island would go without help, Susan Barry Roden created South Fork Breast Health Coalition in 1994. This organization makes sure that a newly diagnosed individual has resources that would not be available to her otherwise, including transportation to doctor's visits, language interpretation and information on groups and wellness programs that give support – mind, body and spirit. Of utmost importance to South Fork Breast Health coalition is to serve the underserved and underprivileged populations.

Each year approximately 15,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in New York State and more than 2,800 die from the disease. Breast cancer inflicts a significant toll on the health of New Yorkers. Since 1995, tremendous progress has been made in the effort to control and prevent cancer and provide enhanced health care services for those New Yorkers diagnosed with cancer.

New York State funds breast and cervical cancer screening programs in every county and all five boroughs of New York City to promote early detection through the Cancer Services Partnership Program. This program works to increase the number of women who get routine screening for breast and cervical cancer. Approximately 60,000 women are screened annually through the Cancer Services Partnerships. Annually, the State Health Department dedicates $1 million to support initiatives that provide expanded access to legal services, day care and transportation to survivors of breast cancer and their families.

The awards are selected by the New York State Breast and Cervical Cancer Detection and Education Program Advisory Council, who are appointed by the Governor and the State Legislature pursuant to State Public Health Law to recognize and promote innovation in breast cancer prevention, early detection and research.

For more information on breast cancer prevention please contact the Toll Free NYS Cancer Referral Service at 1-866-442-CANCER or the New York State Health Department Web site at www.health.ny.gov.