Breast cancer awareness from Shreveport to the South Pacific

October 17, 2016

By Ann Mallari

When October comes around, I think we can all agree that the world around us turns pink—but the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s community grant recipients work year-round to increase breast health education and breast cancer screening.

From providing mammograms to women across Nevada to hosting innovative educational sessions in Louisiana and spreading awareness in American Samoa, these community grantees have recently completed their grant cycle. Let’s take a look at the impact they are making on cancer prevention and early detection.

Mammograms and manicures

bcm161The Martin Luther King Health Center provides cancer education and screening services in clinics and pop-up clinic settings in rural parishes around Shreveport, Louisiana. With Prevent Cancer funding, they engaged their community through creative events like “Mammograms and Manicures” and “Ladies Night Out.”

  • Nearly 1,300 individuals received cancer screenings during the grant year.
  • The Center worked to reduce the fear of screening and promote the importance of early detection.
  • The Center taught lessons on healthy cooking, active gardening and smoking cessation as part of their “Building a Better Recipe for Life” program.

Prevent Cancer Foundation funding enabled the MLK Health Center to reach vulnerable individuals in northwest Louisiana and help us work toward a goal of serving as a catalyst for positive change and making a real difference in the lives of the people and communities we serve,” said Janet Mentesane, Executive Director.

The traveling Mammovan

bcm162The Nevada Health Center’s Mammovan is a unique and valuable cancer screening program. It provides mobile mammography services to women in medically underserved and rural areas throughout the state. By taking the services to areas where there are none, the program seeks to increase screening rates, reduce breast cancer deaths and address barriers of access to screening in the far reaches of Nevada.

  • A total of 3,675 women received mammograms during the grant period.
  • Extended screening hours and weekend visits were made available by the community grant.
  • All women who received mammograms were also provided with breast health education and navigation for any necessary follow-up care.

Spreading awareness in American Samoa

bcm163In the South Pacific, the American Samoa Community Cancer Coalition used their grant award to educate women about breast and cervical cancer. To break down cancer prevention and screening barriers in immigrant communities, the Coalition implemented Tautai Lavea’i (Talk Story), a program designed to encourage open conversations about breast health among women.

  • A total of 251 women, including women born in American Samoa, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Korea and the Philippines, participated in the program.
  • The program held 21 sessions in community settings, such as churches and sewing shops, and successfully increased awareness and connected women to screening resources.

I cannot express enough the depth of our gratitude for this funding to help increase screening for the women here [and] provide structure for patient navigation, because I know the person I am helping will be my cousin, my aunty, and being able to cast our net into the immigrant population is an innovative approach here,” said Jennifer F. Tofaeono, Program Manager.

Call to action

Amidst all the pink, Breast Cancer Awareness month reminds us of the continuing need for action. These community grant recipients are making a difference in the lives of women and families in urban, rural and remote areas. You, too, can make a difference this month. Talk to the women in your life about getting screened and making healthy choices to reduce their risk for breast cancer.  For more information about breast cancer education, prevention and early detection, visit


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