JDC Breast Cancer Forum in St. Petersburg Expands WHEP Efforts in Region

More than 250 medical professionals from eight European countries, mostly coming from the Baltic region, attended the JDC-sponsored International Baltic Oncological Forum held last month at the JDC-founded Yesod Community Center in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The forum was a collaboration between the Cancer Prevention Foundation, a well-established local organization headed by renowned oncologist Dr. Ilya Fomintsev, and the Women’s Health Empowerment Program (WHEP), a joint venture of JDC and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest grassroots network or breast cancer survivors and activists

The forum also included a special round-table of non government organizations, chaired by WHEP, that for the first time brought together cancer advocates in St. Petersburg to collaborate together in the fight against breast cancer in this region.

Established in 1995, WHEP focuses on the importance of early detection of breast cancer while providing psychosocial and other support services for women currently living with this disease.  The program, in partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, is currently active in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, and Russia. It also works with Israeli and Palestinian survivors through JDC Israel’s COPE Forum.

In addition, this innovative program provides leadership training for breast cancer survivors, enabling them to form NGOs, run peer-support groups, and advocate for better health care services.

WHEP also organizes special events and health days on cancer prevention and works closely with underserved communities. One of its flagship activities is the annual Race for the Cure in Sarajevo. In 2012, more than 6,000 people registered for the race, breaking the taboo and the social stigma which is often associated with this disease.



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