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Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund Awards Grant For Breast Cancer Awareness Program To Southcentral Foundation

Local Organization Recognized With Support From National Program

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA/January 2010 – The Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund has awarded a $60,000 one-year grant to Southcentral Foundation to increase awareness of the life-saving benefits of early detection of breast cancer. It is the tenth year that the program has received Avon Foundation funding to support its work on this important health issue, in recognition of the continuing excellence of Southcentral Foundation’s program.

The Breast and Cervical Health Program at Southcentral Foundation will educate Anchorage-area Alaska Native women but also refers them to low-cost or free mammograms and clinical breast exams in their own communities. This vital program will also serve women from the Municipality of Anchorage, Matanuska-Susitna Borough and over 70 rural villages of southcentral Alaska.

Since October of 2000, the Breast and Cervical Health Program at Southcentral Foundation has reached more than 10,000 women with information about the importance of early detection of breast cancer and has screened over 10,000 women for mammograms and clinical breast exams. The outreach efforts have been successful through various events held throughout the year. The following are a few of Southcentral Foundation’s Breast and Cervical upcoming outreach educational events: Southcentral Foundation Annual Gathering –Jan. 23; Project Homeless– Jan. 27; Find the Cure-Valentine’s Day Party – Feb. 12; weekly Lobby activities at the Primary Care Center; plus other events throughout the year such as the CIRI Corporate Health Fair and the Fur Rondy as well as other opportunities through meetings with Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Bean’s Café and other Alaska Native corporation meetings. 

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the U.S. and the leading single cause of death overall in women between the ages of 40 and 55. Based on 2005 data from the American Cancer Society, Southcentral Foundation anticipates that 260 new cases of breast cancer will be detected in Alaska this year, and 50 lives will be lost. Nationwide, there is a new diagnosis every three minutes and a death from breast cancer every fourteen minutes. While advances have been made in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure, early detection still affords the best opportunity for successful treatment. Programs such as Southcentral Foundation’s Breast and Cervical Health Program help ensure that all women have access to early detection information and options, even poor and medically underserved women.

For Alaska Native women specifically, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death. According to the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics, Alaska Native people die of cancer at higher rates than any other Alaskans, and results of a study from the Office of Alaska Native Health Research of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium show an increased incidence of cancer in Alaska Native populations over a 10-year period.

“One of the greatest barriers for Alaska Native women practicing good breast health care, especially in rural settings, is the lack of effective information about breast exams,” says Dr. Maria Freeman, a health care provider at Southcentral Foundation’s Valley Native Primary Care Center.

Since 1993, the Avon Foundation has awarded more than 1,000 grants to community-based breast health programs across the United States, including Southcentral Foundation’s Breast and Cervical Health Program. These programs are dedicated to educating underserved women about breast cancer and linking them to early detection screening services.

The Avon Foundation and Breast Cancer Crusade

The Avon Foundation, an accredited 501(c)(3) public charity, was founded in 1955 to improve the lives of women and their families. Now past the half century milestone, the Foundation brings this mission to life through the Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program and the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, which raises funds and awareness to advance access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer, with a focus on the medically underserved. Since 1992 the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has raised and awarded more than $450 million worldwide for medical research; access to care; support services; screening and diagnostics; and education and awareness. The largest fundraising program in the U.S. is the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer series.

The Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund

The Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund is administered by Cicatelli Associates Inc. to support community-based, non-profit breast health programs across the country. The Fund's National Advisory Board selected Southcentral Foundation’s Breast and Cervical Health Program as one of 122 new grant recipients nationwide in the 2006 cycle of Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund grants. These organizations were chosen based on their ability to effectively reach women, particularly minority, low-income, and older women, who are often medically underserved.

For more Information

For more information on Southcentral Foundation’s Breast and Cervical Health Program, please call Kate Landis at (907) 729-8891. For more information about breast cancer, contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 or www.cancer.org, or the National Cancer Institute at 1-800-4-CANCER or www.cancer.gov.

To learn more about the Avon Foundation, call 1-866-505-AVON or visit www.avonfoundation.org, where you can also access the free printable Breast Health Resource Guide in English and Spanish. For information or to register or support the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer events, visit www.avonwalk.org or call 1-800-510-WALK.

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Established in 1982, SCF’s mission is to work together with the Native Community to achieve wellness through health and related services. The nonprofit health care affiliate of Cook Inlet Region, Inc., SCF has grown in its 27 years, from a single dental clinic to an internationally recognized, award-winning health care organization that employs more than 1,400 people and administers a budget of more than $181 million annually to manage more than 60 health care programs and services.

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