"We know these materials can increase awareness and knowledge about breast cancer among young urban women and teach them valuable skills that they can put into practice. Furthermore, they can take life-saving information home to their mothers, aunts and grandmothers to encourage them to get screened for breast cancer," said Carolyn Aldigé, Prevent Cancer Foundation president and founder.
Nationally, the breast cancer mortality rate for African American women is 34.4 per 100,000, according to 2007 estimates. In comparison, the rate is 25.4 per 100,000 for white women. Recent statistics show that African American women are much less likely to survive five years, primarily due to later detection of the disease which leads to a more advanced stage upon diagnosis.
One Face of Breast Cancer
Cheryl Holmes described herself as "happy and accomplished," before breast cancer entered her life. Diagnosed at age 35 with Stage 1 breast cancer, Cheryl is a supporter of Project Early Awareness and suggests that self awareness and technology go together in detecting cancer, be it a mammogram, ultrasound or MRI. "I discovered my lump," she said, explaining that the discovery has encouraged her to live a more purposeful life, spend more time with friends and family and pursue her life's goals.
During three dozen radiation treatments, she faced many questions and misconceptions. Cheryl decided to be very open with everyone and encouraged others to examine their breasts for lumps and stay aware of their bodies. "I want women of all ages to know that if they detect a lump, they should be courageous and tell their medical professional that they'd like careful examination."
Early Education is Key: Video and Facilitator's Guide
The "Breast Health Education for Young Women" video and facilitator's guide are designed for use with high school girls and may be integrated into school curricula or used by youth group and community center health educators.
The 14-minute educational video includes facts about breast cancer, a demonstration of a breast self-exam, an overview of mammography, treatment options and survivor stories. The video is available in DVD and VHS formats and may be ordered for the cost of shipping and handling at www.preventcancer.org.
Health educators, teachers and group leaders can use the facilitator's guide to provide skills-based breast health education with groups. The guide contains instructions for facilitating interactive activities, including a discussion of the video, a demonstration and practice of breast self-exams using breast models, a critical thinking exercise, role play, and more.
Information on how the activities may be used to meet national or international educational content standards is also contained in the guide. Among the resources provided are a glossary, frequently asked questions, and sample tests, letters, and forms that will be helpful in implementing a breast health education program. The guide can be downloaded or may be ordered for the cost of shipping and handling at www.preventcancer.org.
The video and guide were developed for national distribution and are based on "Project Early Awareness: A Breast Health Education Program for High School Girls." Established in 2001 at Howard University in partnership with the Prevent Cancer Foundation, the program was created to help reduce breast health disparities in Washington, D.C., which has the highest state-level breast cancer mortality rates in the country. Since its inception, the program has reached over 2,700 female high school students in the District of Columbia