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Newly formed Memphis Breast Cancer Consortium launches “Sister Pact” – an initiative to encourage regular breast cancer screening, as appropriate, and provide information about local breast health services, such as free or low-cost mammograms.

New Community Educational Program Aims to Help Address Breast Cancer Survival Disparity of African-American Women in Memphis

Memphis – August 29, 2015 – Today more than 20 organizations announced they have joined forces to help address the disparity in breast cancer survival rates in Memphis, where a recent Avon Foundation for Women study found African-American women are more than twice as likely to die from the disease as Caucasian women.1 The new “Sister Pact” initiative encourages regular breast cancer screening, as appropriate, to promote earlier detection and provides information about local breast health services, such as free or low-cost mammograms through an online resource directory and call center.

“Memphis has the largest racial disparity in breast cancer survival among the top 50 metropolitan areas in the United States,” said Marc Hurlbert, Ph.D., executive director of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade and co-author of the study. “Our goal is to help close this gap by working together with other public and private organizations to tackle some of the key contributing issues, including delayed diagnosis and treatment.”

The Sister Pact program is the first initiative to come from the recently formed Memphis Breast Cancer Consortium – a diverse alliance of local and national groups including health care providers, patient advocacy organizations, government entities, industry, and health insurance companies. Its goal is to inspire African-American women in Memphis to make a pact with a friend or family member to get regular mammograms, as appropriate, and hold each other accountable for making breast health a priority.

To help address the barriers that many women may face when considering a breast cancer screening, Sister Pact also offers a comprehensive online directory of more than 70 local and national resources, incorporating local screening services, transportation and financial assistance at as well as a dedicated toll-free telephone line, 1-844-SIS-PACT (1-844-747-7228).

“Getting screened regularly offers a better chance of detecting changes in the breasts or finding breast cancer before feeling a lump or having symptoms,” said Dr. Kurt Tauer, senior partner & chief of staff, West Cancer Center and consortium member. “Women aged 40 and over should consult their doctor about getting regular mammograms. They can take as little as 15-30 minutes and lists several locations in Memphis that provide free or low-cost screening services.”

“Finding and treating breast cancer early before it has spread has been shown to significantly improve long-term survival rates and we’ve seen tremendous advances for people facing this disease in recent years,” said Dr. Stephen B. Edge, director, Baptist Cancer Center and consortium member. “But we must work hard together as a community to ensure that all women benefit from this progress. By encouraging regular screening and providing information about breast health resources, we hope the Sister Pact initiative will ultimately help improve outcomes for African-American women in Memphis.”