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Breast Health Outreach Project Focuses on Latinas

 Since it began in 2011, Lawrence General’s Breast Health Outreach Project has served more than 5,500 Latinas in the community, providing essential education about the importance of mammograms and maintaining overall breast health. Funded through private grants, the program is a collaboration between Lawrence General and the YWCA Northeastern Massachusetts in Lawrence.

In addition to providing education on breast health, the program also helps participants schedule screenings and connect to additional services, such as health insurance and primary care. Once a screening is scheduled, participants also receive reminder calls to ensure that they get to appointments, and assistance with navigation should they need follow-up visits or treatment.

According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Latinas tend to be diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer more than most other ethnicities. This is due to lower mammography rates, as well as more delays in receiving follow-up care when screening finds an abnormality. This cultural disparity reinforces why the Breast Health Outreach Project continues to be relevant and important.

The Breast Health Outreach Project is staffed by two part-time bilingual employees who work in close collaboration with a team of YWCA outreach Health Ambassadors. Through a series of or small group presentations, organized by the Health Ambassadors, local women receive education that is culturally and linguistically appropriate. The presentations are held in local churches, beauty salons, homes, and other informal gathering spaces.

Since the YWCA introduced Health Ambassadors into the program four years ago, the number of Latinas seeking breast health care has significantly increased in Lawrence, according to YWCA leadership.

The Breast Health Outreach Project is now scheduling for February through May. For further information, call Sindy Cruz at 978-687-0331.

Photo above: The Breast Health Outreach Project's staff members Elena Santana and Sindy Cruz.



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