Since its early beginnings as a grassroots organization in 1993, the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation (FBCF) has advocated for the importance of breast cancer education and quality healthcare for all, regardless of income or location. Believing that everyone should have access to potentially life-saving information, screenings, and care, one of FBCF’s main areas of focus is to actively ensure that women and men receive this education, particularly in the most vulnerable and under-served parts of the state.
One of these programs to support this objective is Mammograms After Sunday Service (MASS), created by The Beautiful Gate Cancer Support & Resource Centerof Miami. The program, previously funded by FBCF education grants, is now an FBCF signature breast health education outreach program of FBCF which aims to reduce the number of late-stage diagnosis in African American communities by providing education and access to mammograms.
Pamela Burnett, FBCF Director of MASS Program
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) each year in the United States, about 220,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and about 2,000 in men. About 40,000 women and 400 men in the U.S. die each year from breast cancer. Over the last decade, the risk of getting breast cancer has not changed for women overall, but the risk has increased for black women and Asian and Pacific Islander women. Black women have a higher risk of death from breast cancer than white women.
Minority and underserved patients face cultural and non-cultural barriers that hinder their access to traditional health care. Although no one will be excluded, the MASS program’s targeted group is African Americans because they have the highest mortality rate of any ethnic group for most major cancers. For this reason, by hosting MASS workshops after religious/spiritual services, a day set aside and endorsed by the Church, which is a pillar in the African American communities, we expect to reap a greater number of attendees.
The MASS program encourages and assist the church to leave its “four walls” and reach out to those residing in neighboring communities with the goal of increasing knowledge and awareness of breast cancer and communicate the importance of obtaining mammograms. Each attendee who accepts and qualifies for services will be provided care coordination and follow-ups.
Through education and community partnerships, there will be an increase in the acceptance of annual mammography screenings in African American women. Furthermore, the MASS project is expected to increase the number of African Americans to seek early medical care, possibly preventing late-stage cancer diagnosis and improving health outcomes.
If you are interested in hosting a MASS program at your place of worship or women’s group, please contact Pamela Burnett at 786.525.6584 or Pamela@floridabreastcancer.org.
About the MASS Project
Founded by Pamela Burnett, Founder of The Beautiful Gate Cancer Support & Resource Center (TBG), Pamela has over 15 years of experience in community outreach and advocacy. She is highly respected in the community for her activism in health issues for the underserved. As a breast cancer survivor, she knows firsthand what it is like to lack proper resources and education when diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. Her commitment to making a difference in the lives of others diagnosed with cancer has been rewarded and recognized by numerous organizations.