Here is another in our continuing series of articles about things going on around Rochester.
Have you gotten a mammogram recently? Upstate Cancer Center is launching a new program to make sure you do, especially if you’re an African-American woman.
The program is called “She Matters,” and it was established by a $50,000 grant from the Susan G. Komen breast cancer organization. 1 in 8 women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime, and 1 in 3 cancers among women in this country are breast cancer.
However, the new program is targeting African-American women specifically because they’re 41% more at risk for breast cancer death than white women, even though they’re actually less likely to contract it.
Even though Komen says that white women and African-American women get mammograms at the same rate, it’s possible that poor follow-up after an irregular mammogram may cause the lower survival rates, though studies haven’t been able to determine this for sure.
Even when differences in care access, income level and past screening rates are taken into account, the statistics still show that African-American women are diagnosed later and have much lower chances of survival than white women. The difference may lie in reproductive or biological factors.
The Upstate Cancer Center, which is part of Upstate University Hospital, set the program up with the Syracuse Housing Authority. The program employs trained residents at the public housing project Pioneer Homes to promote breast cancer screening and awareness among African-American women.
Other programs and events have begun to target African-American women specifically, including a recent presentation of “I Wish You Love” by nonprofit organization The Rose through the Ensemble Theater in Houston, Texas. The event raised more than $44,000 to provide mammograms to uninsured women and promote awareness in African-American Communities.
Regular mammograms are important for all women, and the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommend that women ages 50-74 years should get them every two years. Women younger than 50 should consult their doctors.