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African American Initiative
Komen African American Initiative
The disparities are shocking! Breast cancer is the most common cancer among black women in the US, and it is the second most common cause of cancer in this group, second only to lung cancer. Despite generally similar screening rates, breast cancer is detected at an advanced stage more often in black than in white women. This difference has been largely attributed to longer intervals between mammograms and lack of timely follow-up of suspicious results. And… aggressive tumor characteristics are more common in breast cancers diagnosed in black women than in other racial/ethnic groups. 24% of breast cancers in black women are referred to as triple negative, compared to 8-12% of those among other races/ethnicities in the US. Premenopausal black women appear to be at particular risk of triple negative breast cancer, an aggressive type of breast cancer associated with shorter survival. Breast cancer mortality is nearly 41% higher in black women than in white women in the US.
Susan G. Komen OR & SW WA is looking to move beyond the education and outreach of our successful Worship in Pink program, to a multi-year project that focuses on reducing the breast cancer disparities between African American and white women. Thanks to a grant from the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program, we were able to hire a team of independent contractors from Portland’s African American community who, in 2018, collected the quantitative and qualitative data that is needed to inform the development of a multi-year project that will address these disparities and assisted Komen in developing an African American Initiative Advisory Council. The African American Initiative Advisory Council includes leaders from the African American community, male and female breast cancer survivors, organizations that work with the community, and area health systems. 80% of the Council is black / African American. The Council’s role is to guide and provide input into the development of a multi-year project that addresses the disparities.
Now, in 2020, we are moving forward by hiring a program manager who knows the community and can help us in our efforts.
- We are incredibly grateful for initial funding / project support from the following partner organizations, as well as from private donations:
- OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program
- Providence Cancer Institute/Providence Health System
- Wells Fargo
- Zidell Family Foundation
Resources / More Information
- Find more information here on breast cancer in Black and African Americans.
- Learn about the role that race and ethnicity play in breast cancer. Download Susan G. Komen’s brochure on race and ethnicity in breast cancer.
- Learn more about Susan G. Komen’s efforts to address the breast cancer disparities in the 10 US cities with the largest populations of African Americans and the greatest disparities in late stage diagnosis and mortality rates between black and white women.
- Susan G. Komen has partnered with the Ad Council and Fund II Foundation on the Know Your Girls campaign. Learn more here: https://knowyourgirls.org/
Check out this media on Komen’s African American Initiative Data Collection efforts:
- October 6, 2019: The Columbian article about data collection results
- October 17, 2018: The Skanner article about the Know Your Girls campaign
- October 3, 2018: The Portland Observer article announcing focus groups
- July 22, 2018: StraightTalkTV interview with Mr. Tony Brown
- July 20, 2018: KGW’s Portland Today interview
- July 19, 2018: The Oregonian article
- July 18, 2018: The Skanner article
- July 18, 2018: The Portland Observer article
- July 17, 2018: The Lund Report article