GE Healthcare today announced ‘GE Global Pink Ribbons’ to take place in 25 locations around the world during October. Thousands of GE employees will form ‘human ribbons’ to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month throughout the month of October. In the US, Brazil, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Turkey, UAE through to India, China and Japan, employees will dedicate time to draw local, national and international attention to the condition. To follow the local stories during the month and hear more visit the GE Healthcare Newsroom.
“Campaigns such as the ‘GE Global Pink Ribbons’ initiative are tremendously important — they remind us that more people are being diagnosed with breast cancer than ever before,” said John Dineen, president and CEO of GE Healthcare. “We are sending a message around awareness and earlier detection that says, ‘this issue is important and more can be done.’ We must continue to find better ways to address this disease and help patients, so aligned with this initiative, we are also committed to dedicating an even greater share of our R&D budget to continue developing new oncology solutions. ”
Although the mortality rate for breast cancer has been declining in developed economies for many years — largely attributed to systematic breast screening programs — its incidence continues to rise. Breast cancer remains the most common cancer in women worldwide, comprising 16% of all female cancers. Estimates from the World Health Organization indicate that 519, 000 women died of breast cancer in 2004. Developing countries bear a disproportionate burden for breast cancer, making up an estimated 69% of breast cancer deaths.1
Cancer Awareness Matters
Two-thirds of all women around the world must forgo regular breast cancer screenings due to a lack of access to the appropriate facilities, up-to-date imaging technologies or trained medical professionals. GE Healthcare is committed to reaching many of these women through a series of multilateral in-country partnerships with governments, NGOs and local health partners who can help mobilize efforts on the ground in each region. One example is the three-year partnership with the Susan. G Komen for the Cure foundation to forge first-in-kind programs that bring the latest breast cancer technologies to more women in the United States and around the world. Initially, these programs will run in Wyoming, Saudi Arabia and China. Progress against this commitment can be accessed by the public at healthymagination.com/.
In addition, GE has also created the following resources to continue to spread the message of breast cancer awareness:
• Breast Cancer Mosaic
To further raise awareness of breast cancer, and to honor people’s unique and personal stories of the disease, GE Healthcare manages the Breast Cancer Mosaic website. Visitors to the interactive website are encouraged not only to browse the stories — many of them truly touching — but to share their own message with the world.
In September GE Healthcare launched a new online patient resource, IsMyCancerDifferent. This is the first website of its kind to focus on educating cancer patients about molecular-level testing. Informative videos on the site answer patients’ questions about the importance of individualized treatment, and leading medical experts share insights on how molecular level testing is changing the way in which cancer is treated.
• Cancer Conversation
As part of the healthymagination commitment GE created an online visualization tool mapping cancer conversations on Twitter. The tool also allows viewers to interact with a cloud of a live Twitter feed and search by topics, stories and the people sharing them.
GE also has a commitment to the health and well-being of nearly 300, 000 employees. Through the HealthAhead initiative, a series of on-site employee events and online portal, employees and their families are educated and motivated to undertake positive health behavior changes.
Innovation Backed by R&D Investment
GE Healthcare also recently confirmed its commitment to invest in innovation by announcing that developing new cancer-targeting solutions would be among its top priorities for research and development. The company is dedicating $1 billion of its total R&D budget over the next five years to expand its advanced cancer diagnostic and molecular imaging capabilities, as well as its world-class technologies for the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals and for cancer research.
In addition, GE Healthcare has the healthymagination Challenge: Assembling Tools to Fight Cancer, an open call to action for businesses, entrepreneurs, innovators and students to submit innovative ideas to enable earlier detection and more personalized treatment for breast cancer. Through the Challenge, GE and its venture partners will award up to $100 million to fund breakthrough ideas that advance early detection, more accurate diagnoses and targeted treatment of breast cancer.
A Pioneer in the Fight Against Breast Cancer
This investment reaffirms GE’s continued commitment to tackling breast cancer, which has been ongoing for more than fifty years. GE Healthcare has been making equipment to detect and treat breast cancer since the 1960s. In 1999, GE Healthcare was the first company to introduce full-field digital mammography (FFDM), which has made breast cancer exams more efficient for women, and has been shown to lead to a higher number of cases detected than traditional film-based mammography. GE Healthcare estimates that, since then, tens of millions of breast examinations have been performed with its diagnostic imaging technologies worldwide.
About GE Healthcare
GE Healthcare (gehealthcare.com) provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services help our customers to deliver better care to more people around the world at a lower cost. In addition, we partner with healthcare leaders, striving to leverage the global policy change necessary to implement a successful shift to sustainable healthcare systems.
Our “healthymagination” vision for the future invites the world to join us on our journey as we continuously develop innovations focused on reducing costs, increasing access and improving quality around the world. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). Worldwide, GE Healthcare employees are committed to serving healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries.
For our latest news, please visit newsroom.gehealthcare.com/.
1. Source: WHO Global Burden of Disease, 2004.