Breast Cancer Care Reaching More Uninsured & Underinsured in Central & East Texas

Local Komen affiliate’s recent dramatic expansion benefits underserved Texas counties

(AUSTIN, TX) – August 15, 2019 – As the newly formed Susan G. Komen® Greater Central and East Texas prepares to release its Request for Applications for 2019–20 grants, the results from its 2018–19 grant year are very promising. In January 2019, Komen Austin merged with Komen East Central Texas and expanded into 58 counties to become Komen Greater Central and East Texas. This expansion provided an opportunity to recommit resources to critical breast health services in the greater Waco and Tyler areas. Komen Greater CETX provided more than $60,000 in mid-year funding to all four existing community grantees outside the Austin area: Bridge Breast Network, Cherokee County Department of Health, Moncrief Cancer Institute, and Northeast Texas Public Health District.

The mid-year grants ensure that these four community partners continue to provide services at existing levels until the next grant cycle opens.

“When we joined forces with breast health advocates across eastern and central Texas, we wanted to immediately show our commitment by offering vital services throughout our region,” says Suzanne Stone, Executive Director of Komen Greater Central and East Texas. “One of the primary reasons we wanted to expand our area was so we could make even more affordable breast health services available in rural Texas, and this is just the first step toward that goal.”

One of these grantees, the Dallas-based Bridge Breast Network (BBN), promotes mammography and provides patient navigation and access for medically underserved people in Ellis and Kaufman counties. The organization’s impact is felt one patient and one family at a time. For example, last year a woman was referred to BBN because she had discovered a lump in her breast but had no insurance or financial resources to cover the cost of a mammogram. Using grant funding from Komen Greater CETX, BBN gave her free breast health education, an evaluation, and diagnostic services. After she was diagnosed with breast cancer through BBN, she and her family came into the BBN office where they participated in a Breast Cancer Information and Education session. She was then navigated to a breast surgeon for treatment.

The Cherokee County Department of Health provides mammography to residents of Anderson, Cherokee, Ellis, Henderson, Kaufman, Rusk, Smith, and Wood counties who either cannot afford or cannot easily reach a screening center. The Department used some of its Komen funding to send a mobile mammography unit to the most rural areas of those counties. Because Komen does not require a lengthy application process to prove need, Cherokee County’s health department is able to efficiently provide annual mammograms to those who need them.

Moncrief Cancer Institute uses its Komen funding to send its nationally certified mobile mammography unit to Bell, Bosque, Ellis, Henderson, Hill, Kaufman, McLennan, Navarro, and Van Zandt counties. The unit provides not only screenings but also patient navigation services to the underserved women and men in this area.

With its sizable Komen grant, Northeast Texas Public Health District performs about 750 mammograms each year for low-income, uninsured, and underinsured in Cherokee, Henderson, Kaufman, Rusk, Smith, Van Zandt, and Wood counties. NTPHD reports that some of their clients have heard that mammograms hurt and are a waste of time, so being able to provide free screenings outside of a hospital setting has made this lifesaving intervention more accessible.

Komen Greater Central and East Texas encourages community grant proposals from its entire 58-county area in the upcoming grant cycle. The organization will post its next Request for Applications at the end of November. To learn more about the process and apply for a 2019–20 grant from Komen Greater CETX, visit https://komengreatercetx.org/grants/how-to-apply-for-community-grants, or contact Eliza May, Vice President of Mission Services and Community Outreach, at emay@komengreatercetx.org or 512-473-0900 ext. 884.

Live in one of our 58 counties but don’t see your county listed here? You may still receive help through our Patient Treatment Assistance Program, Prescription Discount Card, and/or Patient Help Line (1-877-GO-KOMEN). Visit bit.ly/komenhelp to learn more.

About Susan G. Komen® / Komen Greater Central & East Texas

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit outside of the federal government while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Komen has set a Bold Goal to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026. Komen was founded in 1982 by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life.

Komen Greater Central and East Texas is working to better the lives of those facing breast cancer in the local community.  Through events like the MORE THAN PINKTM Walks, Komen Greater Central and East Texas has invested $13 million in community breast health programs in Central and East Texas and has helped contribute more than $5.4 million to the more than $988 million Komen has invested globally in research. For more information, call 512-473-0900 or visit https://komengreatercetx.org.

Komen Greater Central and East Texas is the second largest Komen affiliate in the state, serving residents in 58 counties including Anderson, Angelina, Bastrop, Bell, Blanco, Bosque, Brazos, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Camp, Cherokee, Coryell, Ellis, Falls, Fayette, Freestone, Gillespie, Gregg, Hamilton, Harrison, Hays, Henderson, Hill, Houston, Jasper, Kaufman, Lampasas, Lee, Leon, Limestone, Llano, Madison, Marion, Mason, McLennan, Milam, Mills, Nacogdoches, Navarro, Newton, Panola, Rains, Robertson, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Saba, Shelby, Smith, Travis, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Van Zandt, Washington, Williamson, and Wood.

With this change, Komen® Greater Central and East Texas has increased its ability to provide important breast health education, breast cancer screening, and survivor support programs to women and men who are most at risk and most in need. The organization maintains existing offices in Austin, Waco, and Tyler and will continue to host local events such as the MORE THAN PINKTM walks in all three cities. (Dates for 2019 are May 19 in Tyler, September 29 in Austin, and October 26 in Waco.)

 

###