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Rewriting the Story of African Americans and Breast Cancer

February is Black History Month. Did you know that African American women have a survival rate that’s 41 percent lower than their counterparts? The same research indicates that African American women are often diagnosed at later stages, sometimes with more aggressive forms of cancer and at younger ages.

Susan G. Komen has pledged to ensure that this group of women are empowered with the information and tools they need to take charge of their own health and serve as ambassadors in their local communities.

We sat down with Komen OC’s LarLeslie S. McDaniel, Circle of Promise Community Resource Advocate, to discuss this alarming trend and Komen’s initiative to change this reality.

LarLeslie McDaniel

1) Can you explain why there is an immense disparity between African American women and their counterparts in diagnosis/survival of breast cancer?

There is no simple answer to this question as there are many contributing factors; some of which may include:

  • An increasing trend towards breast cancer incidence and late stage diagnosis
  • Fears around screening and diagnosis
  • Loss to follow-up (not receiving timely medical follow-up and/or not completing treatment continuum of care)
  • Lack of trust in the medical system
  • Lack of knowledge of resources and medical recommendations
  • Uninsured or underinsured without access to high quality medical treatment and/or screening services.

2) What are some general tips to reduce the risk?

Early detection is key to survival. If diagnosed early, the 5-year relative survival rate for breast cancer is 99%. Some risk factors can be controlled and others can’t. The two greatest risk factors for breast cancer are being female and getting older, which cannot be controlled.  It is important to note that while “risk factors” are associated with an increase chance of getting breast cancer, they do not cause breast cancer. These are Komen’s recommendations:

  • Know your risk.” Learn about your family health history and talk to your health care provider about your own personal risk.
  • Get Screened. Ask your doctor which screening tests are right for you if you are at a higher risk.
    • Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40, if you are at average risk.
    • Have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40.
  • “Know what is Normal for You.” Know how your breasts look and feel and report any changes to your health care provider right away.
  • Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices.” Maintain a healthy weight. Exercise regularly. Limit alcohol intake and menopausal hormone use and breastfeed, if you can.

3) What is the Circle of Promise?

The Circle of Promise is a California Initiative created by all Susan G. Komen affiliates in the state of California, including Orange County, to address breast cancer disparities at all levels, specifically targeting African American women age 40 and older.  The goal of the initiative is to empower women with the knowledge and resources to enter and seamlessly move through a quality, culturally competent system of health care; to get information, get support and gain access to services that could save their lives.

4) What local resources are available for African-Americans in Orange County if they are uninsured or underinsured, and in need of mammography screening and other resources?

Komen OC can help. Our network partners with health care agencies, hospitals, various community partners and companies to provide all the possible resources to support women, and their families, through their breast cancer experience. You can find resources for mammography, support groups, financial assistance, and local events among others.

We encourage you to help us rewrite the story. The COP Partnership meets bi-monthly for members to learn more about community partnerships and increase breast cancer awareness in the African American community.  The next meeting is on Tuesday, March 27, at 7 p.m. at the Komen OC Affiliate office on 2817 McGaw Ave. Irvine, CA 92614.

Help us rewrite the story of African Americans and breast cancer by joining the Circle of Promise. You can reach LarLeslie McDaniel at 714-957-9157 Ext. 29 or lmcdaniel@komenoc.org.

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Knott’s Screams Against Breast Cancer

For the fourth consecutive year, Knott’s Berry Farm partnered with Susan G. Komen Orange County to raise funds for breast cancer awareness and services for the local community during Knott’s for the Cure from January 9 to March 5, 2017.

In 2017, Knott’s and Komen Orange County raised more than $108,000 through the purchase of “pink” tickets, season passes and select merchandise such as “Pink” Knott’s t-shirts sold in the park. With the cost of a mammogram evaluated at $125, Knott’s for the Cure will benefit more than 800 Orange county residents who are underinsured or underserved!

Cherie Whyte, director of communications for Knott’s Berry Farm, presents a check to Jessica Rhee, Board member, Susan G. Komen Orange County

Cherie Whyte, director of communications for Knott’s Berry Farm, presents a check to Jessica Rhee, Board member, Susan G. Komen Orange County

One of the campaign’s highlights was a special event on World Cancer Day (February 4) to honor and celebrate survivors and their families whose lives have been affected by breast cancer. Knott’s and Komen OC organized a #ScreamAgainstBreastCancer Facebook contest for a chance to participate in the event featuring actress Brenda Song from CBS’s “Pure Genius,” who attended in support of her mother currently battling breast cancer. Winners of the contest screamed against all of the challenges and pain but most importantly celebrated their victories and the great triumph of overcoming breast cancer while suspended over 252-feet in the air, at the highest point of Orange County’s tallest free-standing ride, Knott’s Supreme Scream.

Brenda Song holding hands with Peanuts characters Lucy and Frieda

Brenda Song and Peanuts’ friends Lucy and Frieda

Knott’s Berry Farm also teamed up with Komen Orange County on February 22 to provide free screening mammograms, clinical breast exams and education to Knott’s employees and local uninsured and under-insured women (and men) via the Knott’s sponsored Alinea mobile mammography van. Local women who received free mammograms were also gifted free admission to the park.

Alinea Mobile Mammography Van and Snoopy

Alinea Mobile Mammography Van and Snoopy

Additionally, on Valentine’s Day, the Supreme Scream ride, towering over 312-feet in the air, turned pink and glowed for miles in honor of the Knott’s for the Cure program. Supreme Scream along with the famous Calico Mine Ride, shined across the Buena Park skyline each night for the remaining duration of the promotion.

Since 2013, the partnership with Komen Orange County has collectively raised close to $500,000 for the organization. Knott’s Berry Farm’s parent company, Cedar Fair Entertainment, has donated nearly $1 million to Susan G. Komen in the last 5 years. The proceeds raised during Knott’s for the Cure help provide underserviced women and men in Orange County with access to breast health care and services.

In Honor of Black History Month, Help Us Rewrite the Story

In October 2016, Susan G. Komen announced its bold goal to cut the nation’s 40,000 breast cancer deaths by half in the next decade. In order to reach this ambitious goal, Komen’s efforts will be twofold:

  • Extend breast health services to underserved and uninsured populations
  • Enhance research focus on the most aggressive forms of breast cancers

Black History Month

Did you know that African American women have a survival rate that’s 41 percent lower –sometimes even 74% in certain metropolitan area- than white women? It is about time we address this issue!

Nationwide, Komen launched the program Health Equity for All, subsidized by a $27 Million grant from Fund II Foundation. This initiative will initially target 10 metropolitan areas where mortality rates and late-stage diagnosis of African-American women are the highest. The goal: to reduce the mortality gap by 25 percent within five years in Memphis, St. Louis, Dallas, Los Angeles, Virginia Beach, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. Baltimore and Detroit are also high-priority areas and will be included in the program over the next year.

Statewide, The Susan G. Komen Circle of Promise California initiative was launched in 2014 by seven California Susan G. Komen Affiliates to provide African American women with education and breast cancer screening. On February 27, Circle of Promise will be hosting a roundtable for a much-needed discussion on the breast health of African-American Women in our community. We are thrilled to have Shyrea Thompson, Senior Manager, Special Initiatives at Susan G. Komen as a keynote speaker. You can attend this event by signing up here.

2017 roundtable invitation

Locally, you can also make a difference by joining the Circle, and becoming part of a movement that gives all African American women access to breast health information, services and support that can save lives.

Overall, there are many ways you can support us:

  • First, speak up. Talk about it.
  • Second, make the promise to take care of your own breast health and take action, such as:
    • Talking to your health care provider about your own personal risk
    • Having a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk
    • Knowing how your breasts look and feel and report any changes to your health care provider
    • Adopting a healthy lifestyle to help reduce your risk of breast cancer

Help us empower all African-American women to get information, get support and gain access to services that could save their lives. Rewrite the story. Change history. Get involved today!

We Are More Than Pink

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, join the fight against breast cancer by educating yourself on prevention and detection methods. Recently, we launched our More Than Pink campaign and rallied supporters to take action by making a bigger and bolder impact – to show us they are More Than Pink. Today, Komen represents more than just a color; it represents finding a cure for breast cancer and creating a world where families don’t have to bear the traumatic loss of a grandmother, mother, niece, aunt, daughter or sister to this aggressive and heartbreaking disease.

Breast-cancer-facts

Credit: National Breast Cancer Foundation

Almost everyone has been connected to breast cancer in some way and knows the devastating impact this disease can have on a loved one and his/her family. In the United States alone:

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women (besides skin cancer)
  • There are currently 3 million breast cancer survivors
  • In 2016, nearly 250,000 cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and 2,500+ in men
  • Every two minutes, one women is diagnosed with breast cancer
  • In 2016, 40,000+ women and nearly 450 men are expected to die from breast cancer
More-than-Pink

Susan G. Komen More Than Pink™

To decrease these upsetting statistics, we need YOU to get involved and be a hero by joining us in this campaign! Our BOLD GOAL to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the United States in the next decade cannot be achieved without the help of the community. Join us by acting, donating and/or getting involved. Every little bit of support will help us get one step closer to reaching our goal. Learn more about our More Than Pink initiative: http://sgk.mn/2d2sE3e.

Be Part of Team Komen and Train with a Marathon Pro!

Have you registered to join Team Komen at this year’s OC Marathon and Half Marathon? If not, there’s still time to join! In true Komen fashion, we wanted to share tips and tricks for getting in shape for the marathon.

Marathon enthusiast Doug McKay, our 2015 Race for the Cure committee chair, is leading a free training group which meets every Saturday at 7 a.m. for all Team Komen members.

Julie

We invite you to participate in this training alongside other Team Komen. You’ll learn about personal health and training essentials, while building friendships with those who want to make a lasting difference in the breast cancer community.

If you go, don’t forget the essentials:

  • Plenty of fluids – water, sports drink, etc.
  • Comfortable clothing and shoes
  • A watch to time your pace
  • A running diary to manage your overall progress
  • Sun protection – sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, etc.

Selecting varying surfaces you train on can have a huge impact on injury prevention – that’s why we change up our training location every week.

If you are interested in joining us and being a part of Team Komen, please contact Julie Guevara at 714-957-9157 ext. 30 or via email at jguevara@komenoc.org.

Spend the Day at Knott’s Berry Farm and Help Fight Breast Cancer!

Calling all amusement park lovers! We’re teaming up with Knott’s Berry Farm again for the second annual “Knott’s for the Cure” to raise funds for breast cancer education, treatment and research! Knott’s is offering discounted “Pink Tickets” and limited edition “pink” merchandise now through March 27 to support our mission of ending breast cancer forever. Stop by the park and enjoy Knott’s world class entertainment, attractions and Komen-inspired décor – all for a great cause.

Knott's Berry Farm For the Cure Pink Circle Logo

Our partnership with Knott’s aims to raise awareness in Orange County – and within the Latina community – where women are 20 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than non-Hispanics. By teaming up with Knott’s we hope to reach this important population, to provide life-saving mammograms and treatment options to reduce those numbers.

Last year, the “Pink Partnership” raised nearly $100,000 and with your help we hope to raise even more in 2015! 75 percent of funds raised are invested in local breast health needs and services; the remaining 25 percent benefit the Komen Award and Research Grant Program to fund groundbreaking breast cancer research.

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Join Snoopy, Charlie Brown and all the Peanut characters as advocates committed to the fight against breast cancer! We’ll see you at the park!

For Knott’s theme park information, including hours of operation, please visit www.knotts.com or call (714) 220-5200.

Follow and join the conversation on social media by using #KnottsPink and stay tuned for upcoming initiatives!

Get Involved Beyond Breast Cancer Awareness Month

It’s the last week of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it’s important to remember that your year round support is crucial to finding a cure for this devastating disease. We are so grateful for the continued community support and donations that we have received throughout the month. Fundraising for Race for the Cure will continue until Oct. 31, and we are on track to exceed our goal of $2 million. After October, we must maintain our momentum – to continue raising funds and awareness for breast cancer throughout the year.

IMG_5507

Looking for ways to stay involved? Try these tips:

  • Volunteer –Volunteers assist with outreach, education, office-based projects and special events year round. Without volunteers, we would not have the manpower to advance Komen’s promise to save lives and end breast cancer forever. Need more info or ready to volunteer? Contact volunteer@komenoc.org.
  • Advocate – Komen OC’s advocates act as the voice for over 3 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. We need your help with our mission to translate the Komen promise into action at all government levels. Sign up to become an advocate at: http://sgk.mn/ZK20QF
  • Donate – Your donations make a huge difference. Every dollar donated helps us make an impact; whether you skip your daily coffee, pass on buying that new outfit, or watch a movie at home instead of going out, your funds will help save lives. Join us in the fight against breast cancer by visiting: http://bit.ly/1tmKjlY
  • Fundraise – Many organizations host events and activities throughout the year with proceeds benefiting Komen Orange County. You can participate in an activity that you and your family can enjoy, while supporting a good cause. You can shop for the cure, play in a golf tournament, rally for a cure, start a bake sale or even host a jewelry party with proceeds benefitting the fight against breast cancer! Find out how to start your next fundraiser today: http://bit.ly/ZK3ev9

These tips are just some of the many ways to get involved with Komen OC. We’re so grateful that Breast Cancer Awareness Month was full of fun events that helped raise critical funds for breast cancer including support from: Mode-ology’s Shop for a Cause, Chevron’s Driven to Find a Cure and Orange County Polo Club’s Ladies Night Polo Match. While we can’t mention all of our wonderful supporters here, we’re grateful to all those who held events, fundraisers, and in-store promotions this month to advance our mission.

Seventy-five percent of the funds raised through Komen Orange County are invested in local breast cancer awareness and education programs including breast self-examination classes, medical and diagnostic services for uninsured and underinsured women, and other community needs through grants to community breast health organizations. The remaining 25 percent is dedicated to the Komen Award and Research Grant Program to fund groundbreaking breast cancer research. For more information, visit www.komenoc.org.