What’s the #1 reason why Central Texas women are dying of breast cancer?

Today the Austin Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure revealed some alarming breast cancer statistics for Central Texas.

The stats are the results of the 2009 Community Profile report, comprised of breast cancer data and survey information compiled over a two year period from Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson Counties. Komen conducts the study every two years, but has never really publicizes the results, and instead uses them mostly to build its strategy for services. (Download the entire report here.)

The results, however, are disturbing:

1. African-American women have the highest breast cancer mortality rate in Austin’s five-county region.

2. Hispanic women lag behind other ethnic groups in seeking mammogram screenings.

3. A greater percentage of women living in rural areas are diagnosed with breast cancer because of late diagnosis in part due to higher poverty rates, lack of access to healthcare and no health insurance coverage.

4. According to the Texas Cancer Registry, approximately 900 women in the five county region will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and of those women, an estimated 159 may lose their battle with the disease

The point is that these are not women with incurable breast cancer, rather these are women (and it’s mostly women) who are being diagnosed at such a late stage that it leaves them few options. They are being diagnosed at such a late stage because they don’t have access to mammograms.

This from the 2009 CommunityProfile:

The challenges facing the Austin Affiliate are simply that demand has outstripped services.  The current economic times resulted in less money for grantees during the 2009/2010 cycle and as a result, several services were cut back:  the mobile mammography unit had to cut over 20 locations out of its schedule; more and more women are calling the office needing free screenings; many have lost their insurance and are in treatment. Everyday expenses have become more difficult for many, but especially for women battling breast cancer.  Many of the Affiliate grantees have been advised to start looking for additional funding for their programs as economic times remain unpredictable at best.  Williamson County is faced with a shortage of surgeons willing to see uninsured patients and the list grows as that population grows.  

The good news is, you can help.

Did you know that 75% of your donation to the Austin Komen affiliate stays in Central Texas and goes directly to pay for education, support and free or affordable mammograms in these five counties?

If you’d like to have an impact on whether your neighbors are being diagnosed early enough, make a donation to Komen Austin here. And/or enter this year’s Race for the Cure, Sunday, November 1 at the Domain.

Information about free and affordable mammograms in Central Texas.

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