Too Many DC Women Diagnosed with Late-stage Breast Cancer
Screening tests can be a powerful weapon in the fight against breast cancer. Mammography is a breast cancer screening tool used to help doctors pinpoint when a change has occurred in a woman’s breast. In spite of these benefits, too many women in the Ward 5 neighborhood of Washington, D.C. are forgoing their annual breast cancer mammograms out of fear. It’s not just fear, according to our MedStar Washington Hospital Center researchers, but also personal factors such as having a busy lifestyle and putting other relatives’ health before their own are other reasons why women in the District’s Ward 5 are diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer, in spite of having health insurance.
The finding is based on an assessment of personal opinions from mostly African-American women who live in Ward 5. Over the course of a year, breast health navigators from the Washington Cancer Institute canvassed the community, in order to learn why insured women from Ward 5 come to the hospital’s Washington Cancer Institute for treatment with advanced breast cancer, data previously reported by the hospital.
A Partnership to Save Lives
The navigators surveyed 1,091 women to find out what they know about breast cancer and breast cancer services, as part of the Get2Breast CARE (Cancer Awareness & Resource Education in Ward 5) program, which is funded by a grant from the Avon Foundation for Women. Of the 1,336 personal opinions that were analyzed from the 31-question survey, 22.7 percent noted fear and 23.5 percent noted personal factors as reasons for delaying or skipping routine mammograms, the first line of defense to look for early signs of breast cancer. In their opinions, many respondents indicated fear of cancer, treatment, receiving bad news and abandonment, as well as personal reasons such as a busy lifestyle, no time to see a doctor, laziness and lack of preventative health education in their answers.
With this knowledge in hand, breast health navigators are continuing their outreach activities with events in the community. In addition to educating women on the importance of early detection, four breast health navigators will offer follow-up care to women who are found to have suspicious findings after obtaining a screening mammogram. The navigators will also work to ensure timely treatment is offered to the women, if necessary. This is the second year that Avon has provided a $100,000 grant to fund the GET2Breast CARE program.
Bringing CARE to the Community
Early detection of Breast Cancer begins with YOU! Gain life-changing knowledge about breast cancer prevention and learn about navigation services provided by breast health educators. Meet with navigators from the Washington Cancer Institute's Get2Breast CARE program. The next event will be Saturday, February 27th from 12-5 pm at Old Engine 12 Restaurant, 1626 North Capitol St, NW. Admission is free. Participants will enjoy food and prizes, and free navigation services will be offered.
For more information about our outreach in the community please click here.