Baptist and Susan G. Komen Provide Grant-funded Breast Health Services for Women
Local Breast Cancer Treatment and Prevention for Underinsured Women
Breast Cancer Disparities
One in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Sadly, outcomes are significantly different for women based on race and where they live.
For example, incidence rates are higher for black women younger than 40 years old, and black women are more likely to die from breast cancer than any other race at any age. In fact, breast cancer death rates are higher among black women than white women in every U.S. state—and these rates can be as much as 60 percent higher for black women in Southern states, such as Mississippi and Louisiana. These disparities, or variations, in death rates may be a result of stage of the cancer at diagnosis, access to screening and other treatments, or other factors, such as a person’s general health condition.
Early intervention and treatment have been shown to help offset risk factors and increase the likelihood of survival after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. Baptist and the Susan G. Komen Memphis-MidSouth Mississippi affiliate have partnered to increase access to screenings, diagnostic tests, treatments and other services for women in Tennessee and Mississippi.
Addressing Breast Cancer Disparities Through Komen Funding
To help prevent breast cancer in women considered at-risk for the disease, affiliate chapters of Susan G. Komen award funding to local programs that provide access to breast health services. For example, the Komen Memphis-MidSouth Mississippi affiliate funds breast cancer detection, support, education and treatment in 14 Tennessee counties and the entire state of Mississippi. Since 1993, the program has awarded more than $2 million in funds to Baptist Memorial Health Care’s breast health programs in Mississippi and Tennessee.
In 2018, the Komen Memphis-MidSouth Mississippi affiliated awarded Baptist nearly $200,000 to screen, diagnose and treat breast cancer in the region. Under the grant guidelines, Baptist can use the funding to provide screening and diagnostic mammograms, biopsies, ultrasounds, treatment assistance and even access to genetic counseling for qualifying women.
How the Komen Community Grant Helps Underinsured Women Diagnosed With Breast Cancer
Under the grant, uninsured community members can receive a screening or diagnostic mammogram and/or ultrasound at Baptist Women’s Health Center or on the Baptist mobile mammography unit. To increase access and convenience, Baptist Women’s Health Center is open on Saturdays and has extended hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Baptist’s mobile unit also travels to underserved communities, corporate offices and retail locations to provide convenient access to cancer screenings. In 15 minutes, women can get screened for cancer without taking time off work or rearranging their schedules.
“It’s a great convenience factor,” said Jennifer Coleman, Women’s Health Center outpatient marketing coordinator. “It’s also great to get out into communities that don’t have access to places providing mammograms.”
If a screening or diagnostic mammogram or ultrasound indicates further testing is needed or cancer is diagnosed, Baptist staff members refer patients to programs that can help with the cost of further diagnostic procedures, such as the Tennessee Breast and Cervical Screening Program or TennCare. Baptist Medical Group physicians Alyssa Throckmorton and Lindi VanderWalde also have a Komen grant that they use to provide breast cancer services and treatment. The grant funding allows them to evaluate patients with concerning breast symptoms, perform ultrasounds or biopsies, and provide treatment if needed to women who are uninsured, underinsured or who do not qualify for the Tennessee Breast and Cervical Screening Program.
With funding from Komen Memphis-MidSouth Mississippi, Baptist continues to work toward eradicating breast cancer within the region.
“I’m a two-time breast cancer survivor, and I did not know the magnitude of what Komen Memphis-MidSouth Mississippi does,” says Coleman. “I watch this daily with the grant we’ve received, and it’s just absolutely amazing what they do.”
Learn more about breast cancer services at Baptist or how you can support Baptist and the Komen Memphis-MidSouth Mississippi affiliate. Find a doctor by visiting our Find a Physician page.