New Patient Navigator Aims to Lower Mortality Rate of African-American Cancer Patients

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Susan G Komen for the CureThe Los Angeles County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced today that funding has been provided thanks to a generous grant from the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation. The Anthem grant furthers the mission of the Komen Community Partnership: to decrease breast cancer mortality among African American women in the Greater Long Beach area by increasing breast health awareness and mammography screening behavior. The Komen Community Partnership is a coalition of key community members lead by Komen Los Angeles County and Komen Orange County that works to decease the disparities in access to quality and affordable breast health care among African American women.

As part of this initiative, the “Patient Navigator” position was created and filled to provide patient advocacy, navigation, and coordinated referral services throughout the entire continuum of care for un-insured and under-insured African American women of greater Long Beach. The position is a joint initiative of the Los Angeles County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and St. Mary Medical Center. The goals of the Patient Navigator position are to: link 350 women to breast cancer screenings, track 100 women to diagnosis and enter the Continuum of Care and engage 6,000 women with breast cancer messages. 

Over the coming year in California, it is estimated that there will be 23,445 new cases of breast cancer. Over 25 percent of all new breast cancer cases (5,905) are estimated to occur in LA County. While African American women are less likely than the general population to get breast cancer, they suffer worse outcomes:

  • High late state diagnosis rates
  • Highest overall rate of death
  • Younger African American women have lowest survival rates

Generous grants from businesses like Anthem Blue Cross Foundation are critical to help meet the ongoing needs of women facing breast cancer. Improvements in breast health awareness and improved access to screening, diagnostic, and treatment services are crucial to eliminating the disparities faced by African American women.

“This grant is a significant step in helping address the issues facing African American women as it relates to breast cancer,” said Mark Pilon, Executive Director for the Los Angeles County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen. “These funds from Anthem Blue Cross Foundation have been used, in part, to hire a dedicated Patient Navigator to serve African American women in the greater Long Beach area.”

“We are so pleased to be part of an effort that will proactively work to reach women in their communities with valuable information about breast health awareness,” said Pam Kehaly, president Anthem Blue Cross. “We know that when we can arm women with health information and help improve access for screenings and diagnostic services we empower women to take control of their health.”

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