By Doug Boyd
Two East Carolina University projects to promote women’s health have received grants from the Susan G. Komen North Carolina Triangle to the Coast Affiliate.
“The Pitt County Breast Wellness Initiative” and “Bridging the Gaps in Breast Cancer Treatment in Pitt County” aim to provide screening, diagnostic and treatment services while streamlining care and supplementing costs for breast cancer patients. The projects are led by Dr. Kathryn Verbanac, a scientist and professor of surgery at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU, and Dr. Nasreen Vohra, a surgical oncologist and assistant professor of surgery at the Brody School of Medicine.
The projects are funded with a pair of grants totaling $85,295.
The goal of the Pitt County Breast Wellness Initiative is to increase access to breast cancer screening and diagnosis services for women in Pitt County, targeting uninsured and underinsured women as well as African-American women and women at high risk for breast cancer. The project works with local partners to assess women’s breast health needs and breast cancer risk, link women with existing assistance programs and provide funding for screening when existing resources fall short.
The Bridging the Gaps in Breast Cancer Treatment program will assist patients in Pitt County with treatment-related needs. Breast cancer patients who meet certain guidelines may obtain financial assistance for co-payments, chemotherapy, required follow-up tests, rehabilitative therapy, lymphedema treatments and transportation.
Community health statistics from Susan G. Komen for the Cure, indicate that more than 40 percent of eligible women in Pitt County have not had a mammogram in the past year. Minority women in Pitt County have higher rates of advanced breast disease compared to white women (6.7 vs. 2.7 percent of cases) and the highest breast cancer mortality rate within the affiliate service area (42.4 per 100,000).
These community health grants represent a partnership between ECU and Vidant Medical Center through the Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center.
For more information about these programs, call Virginia Jackson at 252-744-5267.