Norwich group gets breast health grant

Norwich - The Norwich branch of the NAACP's Breast Health Action Council has received a $50,000 grant from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation to do community outreach about the importance of women getting mammograms and clinical breast exams.

It is also connecting women with health care providers and low- or no-cost screenings.

Vickie Han, program manager for the Breast Health Action Council, said this is the first year Komen has given a grant directly to the Norwich NAACP. Komen decided to focus on Norwich, she said, because of data showing more women than average in the city are diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer, when it is harder to treat. African-American women in general, she added, tend to be diagnosed at a later stage of the disease.

The council is reaching out to the community through the senior center, civic and church groups, Han said, to educate women about early detection of breast cancer through three types of screenings. During October, which is breast cancer awareness month, the council has a display of educational materials available to the public set up at the Otis Library, she added.

The council is advocating annual mammograms after age 40; clinical breast exams at least every three years by a physician starting at age 20; and monthly self-exams starting at age 20 to check for lumps and changes.

The council, comprising local businesses, organizations and volunteers, is focusing in particular on uninsured and underinsured women, the elderly and minority populations, and directing them to local health care providers and screenings they can access for free.

On Monday, it will host a health fair at Norwich Adult Education to educate students in English as a Second Language classes about breast cancer and the importance of early detection, Han said.

The council will also help women diagnosed with breast cancer navigate the health care system to receive treatment, she added.

For more information, call Han at (860) 204-1029.

j.benson@theday.com

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