• Know Your Risk!

    The greatest risk factor for getting breast cancer is being a woman. Know your risk and click here for health and screening tips.
  • Visits to our blog

    • 96,379 blog visits
  • Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Circle of Promise: Let’s Rewrite The Story During Black History Month

Did you know? African American women are 55 percent more likely to be diagnosed at a late stage of breast cancer and 44 percent more likely to die from the disease. In honor of Black History Month, an annual observance each February to honor and remember important people and events in African history, Komen Orange County is spreading the word about its efforts to end breast cancer in African American women and men. Komen Orange County, along with the seven California Affiliates, have partnered for an intensive multiyear effort called Circle of Promise. With Circle of Promise, Komen Orange County hopes to activate the community to help improve breast cancer outcomes in African Americans. Circle of Promise is a breast cancer resource and awareness program that further engages black women and men in the fight against breast cancer. Do you want to get involved in Circle of Promise for Black History Month?

Black History Month

Here’s what you can do:

  • Know your risk. Learn about your family health history. Know how your breasts look and feel and report any changes to your health care provider.
  • Talk with your doctor. Talk to your health care provider about your own personal risk and ask which screening tests are right for you.
  • Get a mammogram. Have a clinical breast exam every three years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40.
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices. Living a healthy lifestyle with diet and exercise may reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Together, we’re working towards our mission to decrease breast cancer mortality among African American women and men by increasing breast health awareness and access to mammography screenings. See what the Circle of Promise is doing in your community: http://californiacircleofpromise.org/.

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.

Susan G. Komen® California Announces Circle of Promise to Reduce Breast Cancer Deaths in African American Women

Susan G. Komen® Orange County is proud to be a part of a statewide initiative to raise awareness for  the breast healthcare disparities among African American women.The two-year intensive initiative, which launched last week, addressed access to care and lack of follow-up care as major contributing factors to the higher mortality rate in African American women. Nationwide, African American women are 41% more likely than Caucasian women to die from breast cancer. This alarming trend is likely the result of compounding social, cultural, financial and geographic barriers, and is simply unacceptable in light of the overall improvement in mortality rates since the 1990s.

NBC Los Angeles captures Dr. Robina Smith, a breast surgeon, speaking at St. Jude Medical Center

NBC Los Angeles captures Dr. Robina Smith, a breast surgeon, speaking about the Susan G. Komen California Circle of Promise initiative

On June 11, seven Affiliates of Susan G. Komen® California, including Komen Orange County gathered in Culver City for a press conference and launch event announcing the Susan G. Komen of California® Circle of Promise. During the news conference with medical, community and media leaders, we announced a collaboration on a best practice model to address breast cancer disparities at both the micro and macro levels, specifically focusing on African American women who are rarely or never screened, low-income, uninsured or recipients of Medi-Cal.

As we work together as a community to raise awareness for the breast health challenges African American women face, Susan G. Komen® wants all women to make a commitment to follow the four steps to Breast Self Awareness while also making a promise to be an ambassador to spread the word for others in your community to do the same. Protect yourself with these four easy steps:

  • Know Your Risk – Lean 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 and if you are at a higher risk.
  • Know What’s Normal for Your Body – Know how your breasts look and feel and report any changes to your doctor. Examine your breasts monthly.
  • Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices – The right health choices may reduce your overall risk of developing breast cancer.

Susan G. Komen® Orange County needs you to help spread the word. Invite your girlfriends, mothers, sisters, daughters and co-workers to learn more and join the Circle of Promise.

Support for the Susan G. Komen® Circle of Promise California Initiative is made possible in part by a grant from the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation LLC.

Fighting for a Cure, 365 Days a Year

Battling breast cancer takes strength and courage, but it’s important to know that you’re not alone. This year, through admissions from celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Sharon Osborne, we learned that breast cancer can affect anyone. It is what we do when we find out that we are entering into a battle against cancer that can be the greatest determining factor of our success. However, the biggest difference between celebrities and the rest of us, aside from the fame, is the fortune.

Unfortunately, many women struggle to find the funds they need to receive tests and treatments necessary to fight – or prevent – this vicious disease. That’s why we created “Diagnostics 365” – a campaign that was created to fund diagnostic tests like biopsies and ultrasound guided mammograms—that uninsured women need to find out if they have breast cancer.

This year we were given more than $2.1 million to support breast health and cancer programs. At this year’s Grants Award Breakfast, we awarded more than $1 million in grants to local nonprofit organizations who are committed to serving local women in the community in the fight against breast cancer. Programs like these are made possible as a result of the funds donated to our Komen OC affiliate, to ensure life-saving breast health care services are accessible to all women in our community regardless of age, race, orientation or income level.

We are here to make sure than anyone who has 

breast cancer and needs help, gets help”.

  –Sue Parks, 2012 Board President

Last year, we took on the 3200 Mammogram Challenge, and it was wildly successful. We were able to help more than 2,400 women in Orange County alone, receive this vital exam. This year we want to extend another challenge through our Diagnostics 365 initiative. We have already helped more than 700 women in our community receive these diagnostics tests, and we invite you to support women in need for the next 365 days, and for many years to come. For more information on Diagnostics 365 and opportunities to get involved, visit http://ow.ly/s35TH.

Photo Courtesy of Margaret Soss, Komen OC Grants Award Breakfast 2013