Join the Fight Against Breast Cancer Disparities in Atlanta

Celebrate Black History Month and Join the Fight Against Breast Cancer Disparities in Atlanta

–Cati Diamond Stone, Executive Director, Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta

Black History Month is a time to celebrate the many African-Americans who have made (and are still making) an impact on our nation.  It’s a reminder of how far we have come as a country, and a call for the work still ahead. At Komen Atlanta, we see advancing health equities as a priority.  Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis, and the second most common cause of cancer deaths among women in Georgia. But African American women in metro Atlanta are 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than their Caucasian counterparts. Every day in the Atlanta area, two African American women are diagnosed with the disease, and these diagnoses are often at a later stage, making it much harder to treat.  This disparity holds true among all socioeconomic groups, and it is unacceptable.

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

One factor contributing to this disparity is simply genetics and tumor biology. Many African-American women are diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, which is a much more aggressive and difficult breast cancer to treat. 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.  Research from Komen Atlanta shows that African-American women are less likely to share information about breast cancer in their community, which leads many to believe that breast cancer is not an urgent health issue.

What is Komen Atlanta doing to help? 

Komen Atlanta is determined to lower the breast cancer mortality rate for African-American women in metro Atlanta by 25 percent over the next 5 years.

We will accomplish this goal by working vehemently with our strategic partners and grantees on a host of initiatives to educate local communities about the need for early detection – the crucial, life-saving first step. We will continue to provide access to screenings and services for those in financial need and will focus on providing patient navigation, where we connect women (and men) with trained community healthcare professionals to help navigate the healthcare system, ensure timely diagnosis and follow-up, and provide access to local resources to support individual needs.

What can I do to help?

You can help by spreading the message of early detection, which is the key to breast cancer survival.

There are four simple steps to early detection:

    • Know your risk: Talk to your doctor about your personal risk factors. Talk with your family to learn about your family health history.
    • Get screened: Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40, and clinical breast exams at least every 3 years starting at age 20 and every year starting at 40. Ask your doctor which screening tests are right for you if you are at higher risk for breast cancer.
    • Know what is normal for you: Know how your breasts look and feel. Report any changes to your doctor. If you notice any lumps, redness, warmth, dimpling, or puckering, tell your doctor.
    • Make healthy lifestyle choices: Be sure to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, and limit your alcohol intake.

 Where can I go to find more information about Komen Atlanta and the resources available for me?

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

Need to schedule a mammogram?  If you are uninsured, please call our office for a referral for a Komen funded mammogram.  404-814-0052

Don’t forget to register or start a team for our annual Race for the Cure on May 13, 2017. Register here: http://bit.ly/2fv2aad