The breast cancer rate in the African American community was at 62 percent higher in Chicago’s low income neighborhoods versus more affluent areas of the region. In the African American community, it continues to be a major concern of health awareness, education and prevention. This month is recognized as Breast Cancer Month with pink being the official color of recognition throughout most parts of the world.
Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease.
Just recently, Susan G. Komen held a roundtable discussion in Chicago aimed at improving breast cancer outcomes for African-American women. The discussion included patients, survivors, clinicians, business, academic, community and faith leaders as well as government officials. This is the fourth of ten planned roundtables that are taking place around the country.
It’s CEO, Dr. Judy Salerno was in town to meet many of the people that are instrumental in getting the message out to the community. “Chicago had one of the greatest disparities in breast cancer outcomes. Komen has invested over $2 million in specific disparities work with Metropolitan Chicago Breast Task Force so we’ve made real strides,” Salerno said. “We have so much work to be done because there are still issues with inequity in this town. We understand that everyone should be entitled with the highest quality care available regardless of where they live in the city or where they live in our country or where they live around the world.”
With the help of the Chicago Metropolitan Breast Cancer Task Force, the program has helped narrow the gap within our communities since 2007. Both Komen’s $1 million grant and additional assistance by the Avon Foundation has allowed the organization to focus on the quality of care needed for patients to receive the best care possible.
Dr. Sheri Prentiss is the national spokesperson for the Komen 3-Day 60 mile walk and a breast cancer survivor. She isn’t the typical model of someone who’s not health conscious, doesn’t exercise or lives below the poverty line. An occupational and environmental physician, Prentiss did everything right—going for yearly mammogram check-ups and making sure she stayed fit and in shape. In 2008, all of this changed as she noticed a lump in her right breast through a self-examination. She was diagnosed with breast cancer months after her mammogram showed it was clean—with 15 rounds of chemotherapy, a partial mastectomy, and 33 radiation treatments later—she decided to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk.
As a national spokesperson for the Komen 3-Day walk, the importance of prevention and awareness is crucial in delivering the message—the right way.
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SOURCE: The Chicago Defender – Mary L. Datcher