Komen for the Cure

Komen Race Raises Cancer Research Money, Awareness

Posted May 9, 2007 3:46 p.m. EDT
Updated May 9, 2007 5:45 p.m. EDT

— The annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure has helped raise awareness of cancer as well as money for research, according to one medical expert.

Dwight Randle, the scientific director for Komen for the Cure, began his science career as a lab researcher designing drugs to kill breast cancer cells. Before Komen for the Cure began 25 years ago, public awareness of the disease was an uphill battle , he said.

"Our society did not talk about breast cancer openly. It was something that was talked about in the shadows -- in private -- and in many cases, the word breast couldn't even be printed in the newspaper," Randle said.

One the greatest areas of promise in treating the disease is genetic profiling, he said. Studies show it can help predict which tumors will require chemotherapy and which ones will not.

"This is a very important step because it will save many, many women the agony probably of chemotherapy when they don't need chemotherapy, and they can avoid all of the side-effects," he said.

Because not all research occurs in the lab, Randle also is looking for more and better ways to bring breast cancer screening and treatment to more women who haven't been reached.

"I would love to see research come to the fore that gives us information about how to reach hard-to-reach populations and educate them about breast cancer and reducing the risk of breast cancer," he said.

Komen for the Cure has invested $1 billion in the fight against breast cancer -- money that comes from people who are eager to put a stop to the disease.

The annual race will be held June 9 at Meredith College in Raleigh. WRAL is a sponsor for the event.

"We can harness the power of research -- the advent of new technologies -- and we can bring those to bear against the problems of breast cancer," Randle said. "The public is supportive of that because they give to the Komen Foundation generously and of their own free will."