$1.75 Million Grant Will Help Screen More Women for Breast Cancer

August 03, 2012

A $1.75 million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) will help break down barriers to breast cancer screening and enable more Bexar County women to receive mammograms. The award, announced August 2, enables University Health System to further expand its highly successful A Su Salud health promotion and outreach program to battle the increasing rates of breast cancer among Bexar County women.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in Texas women, and studies show minority women with no health insurance are less likely to survive breast cancer than other women in the U.S. “The program is for women in Bexar County with little education about breast cancer who need help,” said Dr. Roberto Villarreal, vice president of Grants and Applied Research at University Health System. “Our goal is to create changes in lifestyles and behaviors to reduce cancer rates.”

For women 40 and older, living in high risk areas, the three-year program will provide 7,200 mammograms and navigate women through breast screening services. This will increase the breast cancer screening rate for CareLink members, University Health System’s financial assistance program, from 60% to 80%. “We will also reach over 100,000 community members in the target area directly through outreach and education about breast cancer,” he added.

Patient navigators will be critical to the program’s success, serving as links between the community, the health system, doctors, and social workers. The navigators will work directly with women to remove financial barriers, arrange for transportation and encourage screening. The goal is to help patients overcome problems, rather than simply handing them a set of instructions to follow.

This is the sixth CPRIT grant awarded to University Health System for cancer prevention, education and awareness, since the Institute’s inception in 2010. The $6.41 million in total awards specifically focus on increasing screening and reducing the incidence of breast, cervical and colorectal cancers among Bexar County residents.

More information about CPRIT is available online.