MILWAUKEE — This Black History Month, we are highlighting an important health issue in the community.
Black women are at a higher risk of dying from breast cancer compared to any other race.
One organization is helping thousands of women get free breast cancer screenings.
Leaders with Nurses Affecting Change Program say the reason why more African American women are dying from breast cancer is because those women are not catching the cancer early enough. Their efforts are changing that.
With funding from the CDC's Wisconsin Wellness Program, these nurses are reaching women in churches, community buildings and neighborhoods to show how to self-exam for breast cancer.
"We have women in our communities who have never had a breast cancer screening who are 50 to 70-years-old," said Carla Harris, a registered nurse with Nurses Affecting Change.
"I know that every year we see probably three to four diagnosis," said Bonnie Anderson, LPN with Nurses Affecting Change.
The stigma behind why they wait may not be what you think.
"Cost is an issue, access to care is an issue, concern regarding maintaining the integrity of the breast is also an issue," said Sandra Millon Underwood, professor at UW-Milwaukee and Program Director with Nurses Affecting Change.
For nurse and breast cancer survivor Bonnie Anderson, this effort is personal.
"I wanna be sure that if they do get diagnosed with breast cancer that they have the same outcome I had," said Anderson.
She partners with many organizations, including Milwaukee Catholic Home Assisted Living to host these free screenings.
"When they're laying on that table, they're pouring out to us during the exam. We are teaching them how to learn their own bodies," Harris added.
To see if you qualify for free screenings, call (414) 286-2133.
For women who are diagnosed with cancer, the organization will make sure those patients are connected with other resources to fund their journey to being cured.