Working at the Community Level to Prevent Breast Cancer

October 22, 2015

It’s the pink-est time of the year! October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and our community grant awardees are helping diverse communities across the country increase breast health awareness and cancer screening. About 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, it is critical we break down women’s barriers to screening and educate on breast health. Here are three providing health care and education to women in at-risk communities across the United States.

Peer Educator Network for American Samoans

In Pago Pago, American Samoa, there is a great need for more education about breast and cervical cancer. In American Samoan culture (fa’a Samoa), it is believed that little can be done to prevent cancer and that private matters such as cancer screening should not be discussed. americansamoans

With a $10,000 community grant, the American Samoa Community Cancer Coalition will create a peer educator network through the culturally competent Tautai Leveai’i (Talk Story) project. Health educators will reach out to 750 American Samoan women over 30 different villages in an effort to prevent late-stage breast and cervical cancer diagnoses.

Jennifer F. Tofaeono of the ASCCC says that with a lack of resources on-island, American Samoan women experience a much higher rate of cancer death compared to women in the U.S. “The barriers to care are similar to other communities, but are magnified due to our small population.  The point of the patient navigator program is to motivate women to screen as recommended, follow doctor recommendations for surgery, and follow through with recommendations for off-island treatment,” she added. This grant will help diagnose women in early, more-treatable stages and increase the number of women getting screened.

Breast Health Education for High-Risk Women

In New York City, the Mt. Sinai Breast Health Resource Program will educate women at high risk for breast cancer due to the added complications of HIV and Hepatitis, through their grant project.

The program will be offered at a residential treatment program for formerly incarcerated and addicted African American and Latina women. This program has goals of educating 200 and providing 40 with screening services.

Breast Cancer Screenings On Wheels

In rural parts of Nevada, some women travel up to four hours each way to get to a mammogram appointment. Based in Carson City, Nevada Health Centers will use a mobile mammography unit to provide breast cancer screenings to women at convenient locations, such as grocery stores, churches and community centers which are closer to where they live.

mammovannevadaIn 2014, this program provided 2,786 mammograms, and, thanks to the Foundation grant, it will have the capacity to provide 80 more mammograms.

Beverly E. Coleman, Development Manager, expressed her gratitude for the $10,000 community grant: “We are so very excited to have the opportunity to partner with the Prevent Cancer Foundation in an effort to saves lives! Thanks again and we look forward to partnering with the Prevent Cancer Foundation to ensure that women in Nevada have the opportunity to receive this critical service through our Mammovan Program!”

The Foundation appreciates the commitment of these grantees to increase breast health education and screening in their communities. For more information about breast cancer and the Foundation’s community grants program, visit preventcancer.org.

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