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Susan G. Komen for the Cure granted $25,000 to Holy Cross Hospital as part of their Partners in Breast Health Program. The goal of the program is to increase knowledge of breast health, how to access breast healthcare and how to overcome financial barriers in accessing breast healthcare in the hope of reducing advanced diagnoses and cancer mortality.

Specifically, Holy Cross utilizes the funds to serve African American and Hispanic / Latina women age 40 and older in Broward County who are underserved or uninsured. They receive education, screenings and diagnostics at the Dorothy Mangurian Comprehensive Women's Center at Holy Cross HealthPlex (1000 NE 56th St. in Fort Lauderdale). In addition, our Women's Center Patient Navigator will track the patients' screenings and outcomes.

Even though white women get breast cancer at higher rates, African American women are more likely to die from breast cancer. Studies have found that African American women often have aggressive tumors associated with poorer prognosis (expected outcome). Hispanic / Latina women are also more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. Some ethnic and racial groups have been less likely to receive breast cancer screening, and thus, their breast cancers are often diagnosed at later stages. This later diagnosis increases the chance of dying from breast cancer. Partners in Breast Health Progoram aims to alleviate the barriers to screening for African American and Hispanic / Latina women by providing both education and access to breast healthcare.

Through this grant, Holy Cross Hospital formed a partnership with the nursing school at Nova Southeastern University in recruiting nursing students to serve as facilitators for the breast health educational workshops. Specially trained nursing student facilitators conduct the workshops. Workshop venues are strategically selected with a focus on convenience and ease of accessibility for the participants through partnerships with nonprofit organizations that currently serve underserved populations, such as Urban League of Broward County, Hispanic Unity of Florida and Minority Development and Empowerment, Inc.

Each workshop focuses on healthy lifestyles, breast cancer detection and community resources. Workshops also include education in the screening guidelines as endorsed by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure: have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk and a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at age 20 and every year starting at age 40. Participants in the program will understand the importance of prevention and early breast cancer detection in order to improve survival. They will also be able to identify challenges, barriers and ways to address them using the tools, strategies and resources presented in the workshops.

Holy Cross helps to improve the lives of thousands of our underserved and uninsured neighbors each year through education, screenings and programs designed to advance the overall health and well-being of our community. We are grateful to receive this grant that allows us to continue this health ministry through services at our Women's Center.

For more information about the Partners in Breast Health Program, call 954-294-0582.

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