With Support from GE, Komen will Invest $1 Million in Program to Overcome Barriers to Cancer Care for Uninsured and Low-Income Women
DALLAS – November 3, 2011 – Susan G. Komen for the Cure® today announced an initiative to improve breast cancer outcomes for millions of women living in rural communities in the U.S. with an initial $1 million investment to improve care and increase screening rates in Wyoming over the next three years.
The program, which will be officially launched at the Cowboys Against Cancer Roundup in Rock Springs, Wyoming Nov. 5, is part of the “Wyoming Women First” initiative, a partnership between GE and Komen to improve breast cancer screening rates among rural women in the state.
With funding provided by GE, Komen will make grants to local organizations to provide screening and other services that will benefit thousands of low-income and uninsured women across the state. Additionally, Komen will develop regional partnerships among Wyoming’s healthcare providers to enhance communication and coordination of care.
“What we learn from these innovative approaches in Wyoming will help Susan G. Komen better serve the millions of women who live in rural communities across the United States,” said Komen President Elizabeth Thompson.
Surveys show that Wyoming’s breast cancer screening rates, like those of other large rural states, are 67 percent versus a national average of 76 percent for women over 40. Rural women face many barriers to the detection and treatment of breast cancer including long distances to screening facilities, difficulty in coordinating care between far-flung healthcare providers and inadequate financial resources.
“We are launching this effort in Wyoming because it is one of the least densely populated states in the country, with people having to travel an average of 70 miles to reach a medical facility,” said Mollie Williams, managing director of community health programs for Komen. “As a result, breast cancer screening rates in Wyoming lag behind national averages. Partnering with GE, Komen is hoping to change that by making it easier for women in Wyoming to obtain breast cancer screenings.”
Komen has long made low-income and uninsured women a priority, paying for 700,000 breast screenings across the U.S. last year and providing social and financial support for another 100,000. The organization has invested more than $1.3 billion to community education, outreach and health programs since 1982, including $93 million last year.
Komen’s Wyoming Affiliate has funded nearly $3 million in community grants to support local breast cancer awareness, outreach and education initiatives. In the last five years alone, the Affiliate has awarded 52 community grants totaling $1.4 million, with almost 70 percent aimed at screening programs for medically underserved women.