News and Information

April 13, 2012

Susan G. Komen For The Cure Supports Breast Cancer Navigator Program

Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Puget Sound Affiliate has awarded a grant totaling $126,287 to support the Franciscan Health System’s Breast Cancer Navigator program which benefits medically underserved minority women.

The award-winning breast cancer navigator service has been provided in partnership with the Korean Women’s Association since 2005. It has served more than 19,000 medically under served minority women in Pierce and south King counties who face cultural, language and socioeconomic barriers to receiving necessary health services, including screening mammograms. Many of these women are destitute to the point of needing food, transportation, and help purchasing medicines or meeting other basic needs.

"Normally, these women would never get a mammogram unless they have serious breast cancer symptoms," said Tricia Sinek, manager of the Franciscan Community Cancer Program. "At that point in the disease, their chance of surviving is much lower."

Early detection of breast cancer through yearly screening mammograms increases the chances that the disease can be treated successfully. Unfortunately, many women within minority populations lack access to screenings and treatment.

The Franciscan Breast Cancer Navigator program strives to overcome these hurdles by offering culturally sensitive, language-appropriate education with one-on-one personal support. Female navigators go to churches, private homes, businesses and other community venues to teach women about breast cancer. The navigators also help women receive recommended mammograms at facilities such as the Carol Milgard Breast Center in Tacoma. Women diagnosed with breast cancer are offered assistance in accessing medical care and they receive practical and emotional support for managing the disease.

This is the eighth consecutive year that Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Puget Sound Affiliate, has awarded a grant to Franciscan to support the breast cancer navigator program. In 2011, the program received $123,870 from the Komen organization.

"As a non-profit organization with a mission to create healthier communities, we are grateful to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Puget Sound Affiliate, for its generous support of our health care ministry," said Dianna Kielian, interim president of the Franciscan Foundation.

The Franciscan Breast Cancer Navigator program received the Outstanding Community Service Award from Susan G. Komen for the Cure in January 2012, and a Healthcare Champion Award from the Pierce County Business Examiner in 2009.

Franciscan Health System is affiliated with Catholic Health Initiatives, one of the largest non-profit health systems in the country.

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