Breast cancer prevention and detection through the community outreach of Nuestras Mujeres Sanas

Kiteboarding 4 Cancer was introduced to a local breast cancer prevention and detection program in Hood River last year, and we had the wonderful opportunity of contributing to their cause —  Nuestras Mujeres Sanas/Our Healthy Women. John Wayne Cancer Foundation matched KB4C’s $8250 of your donations for a total contribution of $16,500 to Nuestras Mujeres Sanas!! After the program lost significant funding from Providence and the Susan B. Komen Foundation in 2009, Kiteboarding 4 Cancer and our donors entered the picture at the right time with the wonderful support of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.

The purpose of Nuestras Mujeres Sanas/Our Healthy Women is to comprehensively address the need to increase the survival rate of women with breast cancer for rural, low-income, under-served women in the Mid-Columbia region (central border area between Oregon and Washington) and provide needed support to women being screened for breast cancer and improve cancer survivors’ quality of life.

Community outreach throughout the hispanic communities of the Gorge

For the past several years, NCS’ Health Promoters have been successful in overcoming gender, social and cultural barriers to promote breast health among Latino community members. In order to continue to be agents of change in the Mid-Columbia region, the need to raise breast health awareness and provide outreach is essential for its community members. It is important that all women receive regular screenings and that all men and women accept breast health as an entitlement!

The uniqueness of the program comes from the use of Health Promoters, community residents who are specifically trained by an NCS Lead Health Promoter to reach their community with the program’s message.  This combination of health education and leadership development has been the foundation of all NCS programs and has been directly responsible for not only NCS’ ability to reach thousands of people each year but also with helping to sustain the program over the past nine years.  No matter how funding support to NCS ebbs and flows, there remains a cadre of trained and dedicated community health promoters who continue to lead the effort to educate, support and advocate for their neighbors.

The NCS program has four main activity areas:

1)     General outreach through radio Public Service Announcements, Mothers Day and Fathers Day mammogram reminder cards and general large scale outreach to big groups about the importance of early detection—our annual target is usually around 3,000 people

2)     One-on-one outreach to women and men at work, in their homes, in church, at health fairs—through presentations or just talking one-on-one to 400 men and 400 women.

3)     Screening assistance—teaching how to do self-exams, helping people get clinical breast exams and mammograms (transportation, childcare, interpretation, translation of results and any follow-up) for 100 women (we assist some English speaking women with this as well).

4)     Breast cancer survivor support group meeting monthly for 5-8 women.

Since NCS funding was very minimal last year—beginning in July, they have scaled back their work to #3 and #4 and have helped 36 women to get mammograms and continued with our Spanish language survivor support group.

For more information on Nuestras Mujeres Sanas, check out their website, http://nextdoorinc.org/.


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