By Suzanne C. O’Neill, Ph.D.

Outcomes for women diagnosed with breast cancer have improved over the past 25 years through a combination of screening and treatment. However, these improvements have not been seen equally across all members of our community. For example, according to the American Cancer Society, while slightly more White than Black women are newly diagnosed with breast cancer each year nationwide, Black women are 42% more likely to die of the disease. 

Ms. Melanie Nix, Chair of the GLCCC Community Advisory Council & TDJBCF Board Member; Courtesy of Author

Researchers from Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Comprehensive Center (GLCCC) are partnering with the Thelma D. Jones Breast Cancer Fund (TDJBCF), the African Women’s Cancer Awareness Association (AWCAA) led by Ms. Ify Nwabukwu, and the American Cancer Society on a new effort to address breast cancer disparities in D.C. through an expansion of current services. This includes encouraging women who have had mammograms through the Capital Breast Cancer Center’s (CBCC) breast cancer screening navigation program in the past to continue to have regular mammograms. It also includes identifying women who would be eligible for genetic counseling and testing. These expansions are designed to become permanent parts of breast health care provided through CBCC, with the goal of creating sustained improvements in breast cancer outcomes in D.C.

As part of this effort, the TDJBCF’s New Year’s Virtual Breast Cancer Support Group Celebration, scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 6 p.m., will be dedicated to the topic of the genetics of breast cancer, including genetic counseling and testing in general. 

The event will be emceed by Ms. Jaqueline Beale. Guest speakers include Melanie Nix, Chair of the GLCCC Community Advisory Council and TDJBCF Board Member, as well as a genetic counselor from GLCCC. Melanie will share her personal experiences with this topic. Closing remarks will be provided by Dr. Lucile Adams-Campbell, professor of Oncology, Associate Director for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research, and Senior Associate Dean for Community Outreach and Engagement at GLCCC. TDJBCF Founder Thelma D. Jones is a member of the GLCCC Community Advisory Council.  

Dr. Lucile Adams-Campbell, Professor of Oncology, Associate Director for Minority Health & Health Disparities Research, Senior Associate Dean for Community Outreach & Engagement, GLCCC; Courtesy of Author

Interested participants may attend the support group meeting by visiting  https://www.facebook.com/TDJBreastCancerFund/ on Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 6 p.m. For questions about the meeting or the TDJBCF, please email thelma@tdjbreastcancerfund.org, call (202) 251-1639, or visit www.tdjbreastcancerfund.org.

You may be eligible for this study if you are a Black woman in the D.C. area; are between 40-70 years old; and had a mammogram in the past, but have not had a mammogram in the past 12-24 months. If you are interested in learning more about the study, please contact TDJBCF at (202) 251-1639 or CBCC at (202) 784-2700. 

Suzanne C. O’Neill, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at Georgetown University Medical Center and the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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