Breast cancer affects women in all population groups. However, data reported in the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services reflective of trends in the stage of breast cancer at the time of diagnosis, mortality, and survival reveal that African American, Hispanic, low-income, and working poor women who reside in Milwaukee’s central city bear a disproportionate burden.
The ACS Kohl’s Breast Cancer Initiative will provide breast cancer education and navigation through screening, follow-up and survivor support for low-income and working poor African American, Hispanic women living in densely populated central city communities in Milwaukee. The program will target women, 35 to 64 years of age, never or rarely been screened for breast cancer.
A dedicated group of experienced bi-lingual culturally astute clinical nurse specialists and breast care educators will staff the ACS Kohl’s Breast Cancer Initiative. The team will canvas the community and work with leadership of the Black Health Coalition, the Hispanic Community Council, the Pan-African Community Association, the Milwaukee Ministers Alliance, and the Transitional Housing Program of Southeastern Wisconsin to disseminate information about breast cancer education and navigation support available through the ACS Kohl’s Breast Cancer Initiative.
The clinical nurse specialist and breast care educator will offer weekly interactive breast cancer screening and early presentations to women within at area churches, worksites, community health centers, schools, social service centers, laundries, salons, and at scheduled community/cultural events. The clinical nurse specialist and breast care educator will conduct weekly presentations for women in their homes or in meeting rooms in the housing complexes, shelters, institutions where they reside. In addition, the staff will exhibit and present at the Fiesta Mexicana, the Milwaukee Back-to-School Program, and the Resource Fair of the Pan African Community Association, and other cultural/community health fairs.
Regular screening and follow- up of abnormal results, is critical to early diagnosis and is the best way for women to lower their risk of dying from breast cancer.
The state of Wisconsin, the city of Milwaukee, area health care systems, breast cancer foundations and local advocacy groups have undertaken multiple efforts to promote breast cancer detection and control. Yet, data suggest that many populations groups lack breast health education; lack financial resources for breast cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up; and experience difficulties navigating the complexities of the health care system. Included among the populations most at-risk for being underserved are low income, working poor, uninsured, and underinsured African American and Hispanic women living in densely populated and crime ridden communities. Social, economic, cultural and structural barriers often hinder the access of these groups of women to health care in general and breast care in particular. Nuances specific to culture and religion; limited proficiency in English; poverty; and, social isolation often impede their ability to access health care and impede the delivery of care to them by providers within the health system.