Medical Minute – Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

By: Dr. James Lee

Susan G. Komen is more than the name of the leading foundation in breast cancer education, screening, and research. She was a daughter, sister, wife and mother who like too many women developed breast cancer, fought it and eventually lost her battle to breast cancer. She was 36 years old. Her sister, Nancy Brinkman, started the Susan G. Komen foundation in 1982, two years after her death as a way of fulfilling a promise she made to her sister. Her goal, and that of the Susan G. Komen Foundation to this day, remains eradicating breast cancer as a life-threatening disease by advancing research, education, screening, and treatment. If you have never heard the story of Susan G. Komen the woman, and that of her sister Nancy, I encourage you to visit the Susan G. Komen Foundation Website at Although touching, frightening, inspiring, and encouraging, their story is not unlike many of women around our communities and the world.

Unfortunately, chances are that everyone knows someone with breast cancer. One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. In 2022 alone, it is estimated that there will be 287,500 new cases of breast cancer in the United States, 3,970 in Louisiana alone. Estimates are that 43,550 women will die of breast cancer in the U.S. in 2022, 690 in Louisiana. The risk of breast cancer increases directly with age. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women over their lifetime, but it is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women age 20-59. It is important to know that a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer continues to increase after the age of 60.

Early detection is the single-most important factor in the treatment of this disease. Current recommendations are for all women to have annual breast examinations by a physician and to perform monthly self-breast examinations. After the age of 40, all women should have mammograms every year in addition to continuing her annual physician exams and monthly breast self-examinations according to the American Cancer Society. Some women are at increased risk for developing breast cancer and will have different recommendations for screening and early detection. It is imperative that each woman checks with her doctor to find if she fits into one of these groups.

In addition to October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, several area Susan G. Komen affiliates are holding annual activities. On October 29, 2022, the Susan G. Komen New Orleans Race for the Cure® and MORE THAN PINK WALK will be held. November 4, 2022, through November 6, 2022, in Dallas, Susan G. Komen 3-day walk will also be held. This is a 60 mile walk over three days. Other events including Wacoal’s Fit for the Cure, BigWigs Gala, and other events. These events are also held nationwide and even internationally. Susan G. Komen has chapters in Shreveport, Bossier City, Monroe, Alexandria, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans. 75 percent of the funds raised at the Race remain here in Louisiana to provide breast health research, diagnostics, screening, treatment, services, and education for uninsured or underinsured women. The remaining 25 percent goes to fund national research to discover the causes of breast cancer and, ultimately, its cure. This is an opportunity for everyone in our community to support this worthy cause. For more information about these and other events, including contact information for your local affiliate clubs visit

Dr. James Lee serves as the Coroner of Winn Parish. He is a General Surgeon and Surgical Oncologist who has been practicing in Winnfield for over ten years. Dr. Lee attended the University of Colorado for his medical degree. He completed his residency in Surgery at the University of Oklahoma before completing a fellowship in Surgical Oncology and Endoscopy at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY. Dr. Lee and his wife Scarlett live in Winnfield with their son and are active in the community.