INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis group has partnered with Ascension St. Vincent Hospital to provide mammogram screenings in one of Indy’s predominantly minority communities. Data shows Black and Latino women are most at risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Chamber 465 is providing that partnership. The name stands for “Cohort Helping All Minority Businesses Enhance Revenue.” It’s part of the Indy Black Chamber of Commerce and provides co-working space and other services in The Platform at Indianapolis City Market.
The mobile mammogram screening bus makes stops all around Indiana so it’s a vital resource when it comes to improving accessibility. And experts say with an estimated 1 out of every 8 women diagnosed with breast cancer, catching it early is important.
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women and if caught early, those who are diagnosed have a better chance to beat it. That’s why yearly mammograms matter so much. But the will to do it and accessibility can delay the process.
“I know sometimes in the health industry African Americans have been a little reserved, a little timid about just getting our body screen for whatever it is. And we have to get past that,” said Anita Williams with the Indy Black Chamber.
Chamber 465 recognized this health disparity and partnered with Ascension St. Vincent, bringing the mobile mammogram bus to the University United Methodist Church on the city’s northwest side, where John Russell is the pastor.
“It’s great to have people’s lives transformed. And for people to be saved. And baptized. Filled with the Holy Spirit. But we also need people to make sure that they can have a healthy life,” he said.
Data shows Black women for a variety of reasons are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer in sometimes more aggressive forms.
“You’ve got too many women that are dealing with cancer and if we can catch it early enough, then your lives can be extended,” said Williams.
Many people who attend this church fit in the suggested screening age. Experts say those with family history of breast cancer be screened as early as 30 years old.
“Self exams are good for finding lumps and bumps and things that we might be concerned about,” said mammographer Jyl Milham. “It’s better for you to come in for a screening every year because once it gets to the point where all you can feel is a lump its already gone too far.”
Health officials say it’s also important to point out that about 1% of men will be diagnosed with breast cancer.