Initiative for Reducing Breast Cancer Mortality in African Americans

In 2016, Susan G. Komen announced a new Bold Goal: to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50% by 2026. The Komen Scientific Advisory Board, together with our team of Komen Scholars and breast cancer experts from around the world came together to not only set this goal for our organization, but to develop a plan of action to help us get there. This goal, and the plan to achieve it, is exhilarating, a little bit intimidating, and yes, BOLD. It will require hard work from all of us but we firmly believe that we will achieve it.

A recent study by Dr. Kirsten Beyer at the Medical College of Wisconsin has identified specific Milwaukee areas as ‘hot spots’ – where women are nearly twice as likely to die from breast cancer than women living in surrounding neighborhoods.  These poverty pockets are located throughout the city of Milwaukee, specifically in zip codes: 53205, 53206, 53208, 53210, 53213, 53216, 53204, 53215 and 53233.

Why are African-American women more likely to die of breast cancer?

Breast cancer disparities for African-American women are startling. According to the most recent data available, breast cancer mortality is about 40 percent higher for African-American women in the U.S. than Caucasian women. And, African-American women are often diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer when treatment options are limited, costly and the prognosis is poor. There are also many barriers to care that can delay screening or treatment, like cost, fear, difficulty with transportation or arranging childcare, a lack of culturally appropriate education materials and limited African American role models who can talk with other women about breast cancer.

 What is Komen Wisconsin doing to help?  

Komen Wisconsin is focused on decreasing breast cancer mortality rate in African-American women in these Milwaukee hot spots. We will accomplish this goal by working vehemently with our strategic partners and staff on two key programs:

Conversations with Komen Presented by Kohl’s

Project Contact:  Cetonia Weston-Roy, 414.389.4885, Cetonia@KomenWisconsin.org

Project Website:  www.kohlsconversationsforthecure.org

Kicking off its ninth year, Conversations with Komen is a breast health education program that will teach women the importance of knowing their bodies, healthy lifestyle behaviors, family history and the need for early detection – the crucial, life-saving first step. A team of well-trained community health workers, many who are African American breast cancer survivors, will provide the education and navigation services to financial resources and assistance in overcoming barriers to receiving screening. In this next year, 3,500 individuals will be educated on breast health and breast  cancer with a goal to ensure 90% of individuals educated take positive action towards their breast health.   Current hot spot screening outcome is 27% and we will work to increase that to 31% per our grant.

It is imperative that Komen’s work is focused on communities with the greatest need which is why Conversations with Komen will open a satellite office, “The Komen Corner: A Resource Center” inside the COA Goldin Center (COA). COA is in the Amani neighborhood located in one of the ‘hot spot’ areas of zip code 53206.

Women can access the Komen Corner satellite office for:

  • Breast health education
  • Navigation to screening and diagnostic services after education
  • Navigation services and social support for women currently battling breast cancer
  • Financial assistance resources for preventative breast screenings and breast cancer diagnosis
  • Health insurance and Treatment Assistant Fund enrollment along with screening events

Healthy lifestyle classes such as exercise, stress reduction, healthy eating initiatives, and cooking classes.

Sister Pact

Project Contact:  Gloria Singleton-Young, 414.389.4880, Gloria@KomenWisconsin.org

Project Website:  www.sisterpact.com

Sister Pact is an initiative spearheaded by the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Taskforce and strives to help raise awareness of breast cancer among African-American women in Milwaukee. Healthcare companies, community services organizations, academic and religious institutions have all joined forces to help reduce the disparities in breast cancer mortality among underserved Milwaukee populations through continued education, targeted media campaigns, and sharing of local resource via a website.

Komen Wisconsin invested $50,000 in the first year of this program and has provided numerous staff oversight to the development and ongoing support of the program.

Where can I go to find more information about Komen Wisconsin? 

Engage with our community on social media (@KomenWisconsin) or visit our website (www.KomenWisconsin.org) for continual updates about events, free screenings, research, local resources, inspiring stories and so much more!

Need to schedule a screening or diagnostic mammogram?

If you are uninsured or underinsured we can help, please call the Komen office for a referral for a Komen funded mammogram at 877.910.7465 (PINK).

All other questions, call Gloria at 414.389.4880 or Gloria@KomenWisconsin.org.