Coastal Family Health Center awarded $100,000 to address health concerns

Coastal Family Health Center awarded $100,000 to address health concerns
Funding was made possible through ACS’s partnership with the NFL and the league’s Crucial Catch campaign. (Photo source: ACS)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Coastal Family Health Center in Biloxi was awarded a $100,000 grant from the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the New Orleans Saints.  
The grant was given to assist the health center in addressing differences in breast cancer mortality by providing access to breast cancer screening, follow-ups to abnormal mammograms, and timely access to specialty care if needed.

"We are excited about the improved access to services this grant funding will offer to individuals in the community," said Jeff Fehlis, executive vice president for the American Cancer Society. "Breast cancer mortality rates have declined since 1989, thanks in part to the lifesaving efforts of the American Cancer Society and supporters like the NFL."

The grants are focused primarily on African American communities, but also target other underserved populations.

Breast cancer mortality has steadily declined over the last four decades, largely due to improvements in early detection and treatment. However, not all women have benefited equally from this progress. A faster drop among white women has widened the mortality gap between white and black women. Despite similar rates of disease and screening rates, breast cancer death rates in 2015 were 39 percent higher for black women than white women in the nation as a whole and up to 60 percent higher in some states. Access to timely follow-up and high-quality treatment are key drivers of these disparities, especially in underserved communities. Differences in stage of cancer diagnosis, tumor characteristics, obesity, and other comorbidities are also contributing factors.

"We experience patients who in their lifetime have never been able to afford a mammogram," said Constance Shaw, radiology technician at Coastal Family Health Center. "Some of these patients are above the age for recommended screenings, and because we have been given this gift we will now be able to help these patients to get their mammograms."

Coastal Family Health Center will receive the grant over two years. Funding was made possible through ACS's partnership with the NFL and the league's Crucial Catch campaign.

The grants are the latest in ACS's Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) program, which provides funding opportunities as part of the ACS's commitment to reduce disparities in cancer mortality.

Copyright 2018 WLOX. All rights reserved.