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UAMS breast cancer program gets Avon grant 

UAMS News Bureau


The Witness Project, a program of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) to increase awareness of breast cancer, has been awarded a $30,000 one-year grant from the Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund. It is the sixth year that the program has received Avon Foundation funding.

The Witness Project, sponsored by the UAMS College of Public Health and founded by the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, educates African-American and medically underserved women and refers them to low-cost or free mammograms and clinical breast exams in their communities. Mobile mammography units provide screenings for women living in counties with limited access to certified mammography facilities. The program also assists women with transportation and other unmet needs. Educational programs are presented at churches, civic centers, job sites and during community activities.

During 2006, The Witness Project has reached more than 1,100 women with information about the importance of early detection of breast cancer and has referred almost 450 women for mammograms and clinical breast exams. The Witness Project was featured on CNN in October for its commitment to health care in underserved communities.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the United States and the leading single cause of death overall in women between the ages of 40 and 55. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be about 410 deaths due to breast cancer in Arkansas in 2007.

Nationwide, there is a new diagnosis every three minutes and a death from breast cancer every 14 minutes. While advances have been made in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure, early detection still affords the best opportunity for successful treatment. Programs such as The Witness Project help ensure that all women have access to early detection information and options, even poor and medically underserved women.

“We are proud that the Avon Foundation shares our mission and has chosen to support our program. With these funds we will be able to assist more ladies with early detection screenings and provide services in more counties,” said Doris Champ, assistant navigator with The Witness Project.

Since 1993, the Avon Foundation has awarded more than 1,000 grants to community-based breast health programs across the United States. These programs are dedicated to educating underserved women about breast cancer and linking them to early detection screening services.

The Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund is administered by Cicatelli Associates Inc. to support community-based, nonprofit breast health programs across the country. The fund's National Advisory Board selected The Witness Project as one of 122 new grant recipients nationwide in the 2007 cycle of Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund grants. These organizations were chosen based on their ability to effectively reach women, particularly minority, low-income and older women, who are often medically underserved.

For information on The Witness Project, call Charlie Stayton at (800) 275-1183. For information about breast cancer, contact the American Cancer Society at (800) ACS-2345 or www.cancer.org, or the National Cancer Institute at (800) 4-CANCER or www.cancer.gov.

To learn more about the Avon Foundation, call (866) 505-AVON or visit www.avonfoundation.org. The Breast Health Resource Guide is available on the Web site in both English and Spanish. For information or to register or support the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer events, visit www.avonwalk.org or call (800) 510-WALK.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has about 2,430 students and 715 medical residents. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with about 9,400 employees, including nearly 1,000 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $5 billion a year. For more information, visit www.uams.edu.

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