Laura Bush Leads Effort to Expand Cancer Screening, Treatment Abroad

By Suzan Clarke

Sep 13, 2011 8:30am
gty laura bush thg 110912 wblog Laura Bush Leads Effort to Expand Cancer Screening, Treatment Abroad

                                                                                                    Dr. Billy Ingram/Getty Images

Former first lady Laura Bush is raising awareness about cervical and breast cancer in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America while working to expand screening and treatment.

Bush and former U.S. Ambassador Nancy Brinker are leading Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, a public-private partnership that will expand the availability of vital cervical cancer screening and treatment and breast care education, particularly for HIV-stricken women in developing nations. The partners include the George W. Bush Institute, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

Brinker is the former U.S. ambassador to Hungary and founder of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a breast cancer awareness and advocacy organization that she started in honor of her sister, Komen, who died of breast cancer in 1980.

“It’s new, we know it’s bold, but we believe we can reduce deaths from cervical cancer in sub-Sahara Africa by 25 percent in five years,”  Brinker, speaking of the new initiative, told “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts in an interview that aired today on the show.

The former first lady said Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon has many corporate partners and sponsors that could bring technical assistance to the effort.

Asked by Roberts about how they could hope to involve Americans in the effort when people were worried about their own difficult times in the United States, Bush said, “I think it’s really important, both for our moral imperative to reach out to people around the world, and I know many Americans agree with that. But also I think it’s important for our national security to make sure that people don’t think we’re just standing by while everyone across Africa is dying of something that is treatable or is preventable.”

 

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President George W. Bush will launch Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon today.

Pink ribbons are associated with support for breast cancer patients and research, while red ribbons denote similar support for HIV/AIDS.

Cervical cancer is the most common women’s cancer in Africa and the third most common cancer in women, affecting 530,000 women and killing 275,000 women every year.  Breast cancer is estimated to affect 1.4 million women and kill 458,000 women each year globally.

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