Watch out, breast cancer. We’re coming for you.

Women diagnosed with breast cancer in DC’s Wards 7 & 8 have a lower chance of survival than the national average.  Watch out, breast cancer.  We’re coming for you.

Breast Care for WashingtonIt’s exciting times at Breast Care for Washington. While we haven’t been super active in the public eye since our official launch in November 2012, we’ve been working tirelessly around the clock on multiple initiatives to make our mission of reducing D.C.’s high breast cancer mortality rate a reality.

This past Sunday, May 5th, was a huge day for BCW!  We were graciously awarded a $125,000 grant by the AVON Foundation for Women to assist with our start-up costs. Our grant is 1 of 6 Safety Net Hospital Grants that the AVON Foundation awarded yesterday, May 5th, 2013 in Washington, D.C. This is truly a milestone for BCW as we have now raised 50% of our start-up costs and anticipate to begin providing services this fall! Please checkout our press release regarding this monumental moment in Breast Care for Washington’s History.

Elisabeth Cramer Karen Sealander Regina Hampton, BCW $125,000 Avon Grant
BCW Board Members: (left to right) Karen Sealander, Dr. Regina Hampton, and me!

Our grant provides funding for us to acquire our mobile mammography machine, SOFIE.  SOFIE allows us to turn any 8×10 room into a breast cancer screening room, which means we bring mammography to patients. We can literally roll her into community centers, work places, clinical settings, churches, you name it!  It is crucial that we begin services this year, and here’s a few reasons why from a 2010 Susan G. Komen Study:

Breast Cancer Facts about the National Capital Area

  • The breast cancer mortality rate in Washington, D.C. is significantly higher than the U.S. average – 28.1 deaths for every 100,000 diagnosed compared to 23.4 in the U.S.
  • While breast cancer mortality rates in Ward’s 7 & 8 are especially high (32.9 and 30.7 respectively), breast cancer incidence rates are lower (Ward 7 – 116.8) or about the same (Ward 8 – 121.3) as the national average (119.3), meaning women diagnosed in ward 7 & 8 have a lower chance of survival than the national average.
  • Fifty-nine percent of the breast cancers detected in Arlington were discovered early, when they were still “localized,” while only 40% of cancers in Wards 7 & 8 were detected before they had spread beyond the breast.
  • Ward’s 7 and 8 are predominantly comprised of African-Americans (97% in Ward 7 and 93% in Ward 8), and a fourth of their residents live below the poverty line. Prince George’s County is also predominantly African-American (63 percent), and has the largest percentage of Latino and non-English speaking residents in the state of Maryland (13 percent).
  • The National Capital Area has the seventh largest number of foreign-born residents in the U.S. One out of every four residents speaks a language other than, or in addition to, English.

For more on how we plan to attack D.C.’s breast cancer epidemic, please see my previous post: “Getting Creative with Breast Cancer Screening.”

It’s all coming together.  We’re so excited.  Thank you to everyone who has been supporting us along the way. We will continue to need your support. Please consider contributing to our cause.  No donation is too small.  Sooner than later we will provide the first ever, and the only, transportable mammography capabilities in Washington, D.C.

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