Breast cancer mortality greater in minorities

Lack of early detection key factor in risk

By Constance Jones - Anchor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A new study by the National Cancer Institute reveals women of color are twice as likely to die from breast cancer compared to white women. 

Although family history is a major factor, so is early detection.

"In our community, it is taboo to about to talk about cancer," said breast cancer survivor Sheryl Dickey, who is African-American.

Doctor Nicholas Tranakas with Broward Health said the problem is that when the cancer is finally diagnosed, it often in its late stages.

"Many cultures are not built into the preventative sides of medicines. They are only into the treatment," said Tranakas. "You only go to the doctor when your sick. If I have a cold, that's not sick, but if I am on my death bed, I will go."

Tranakas said there are many resources available for low income women and those without insurance.

"There are programs that offer low cost mammograms and in some cases, no cost whatsoever," said Tranakas.

Dickey credits a clinical trial with helping her survive the disease, even in its late stages. She has now become an advocate of preventive care, sharing her story as often as possible.

"It's important to educate people of color," Dickey said.

Throughout the month of October, the Broward Health is holding its 4th annual Mammopalooza event to provide mammograms and diagnostic screenings to underserved and uninsured women within the northern two-thirds of Broward County.

"This is the first year we've held the event for the entire month; previously, it was just two weeks. Last year in that two week period, we screened over 2,000 women," said Tranakas. "This year, we're hoping to screen well over 4,000 women during the month long event."

To schedule a mammogram during the Mammopalooza event, call 954-759-7500 or go to

Memorial Healthcare System is offering mammogram screenings for $50 throughout the month of October.  

Memorial Healthcare also offers mammograms at any time throughout the year for underinsured and uninsured women at a cost of $40 through a Susan. G. Komen grant.

Prescriptions are required for the screenings. For women who don't have one, Memorial Healthcare's patient navigator can arrange for a physician to do a clinical breast exam at low cost.

To schedule an exam with Memorial Healthcare, call 954-276-5500.

Miami-Dade County is also offering free mammograms to its employees.

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