Local Initiative Creatively Addresses Breast Cancer Disparities

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 - 9:54am

"SASSY" Save a Sister - Save Yourself

Public Health Madison and Dane County, with support from Susan G. Komen for the Cure - Madison Affiliate recently launched a new initiative aimed at improving breast health education and breast cancer screening rates for African American women in Dane County. This initiative includes collaboration with the Allied Wellness Center, JP Hair Design and Just Nails.

Breast cancer affects people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds; however, current research indicates African American women may face unique barriers to screening. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed among African American women and even though African American women are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than white women, they are more likely to die from the disease. Studies also show African American women are frequently diagnosed with more advanced stages and often have aggressive types of breast cancer.

To address these disparities locally, an Outreach Specialist for the Wisconsin Well Woman Program is working directly with African American communities in Dane County to increase the number of women being screened. "SASSY", an incentive program, encourages eligible African American women age 50 and older to receive a free mammogram through the WI Well Woman Program. Once their mammogram is performed, they receive a salon gift card for JP Hair Design or Just Nails as encouragement to continue with annual screening. Other aspects of the initiative include community breast health education, development of culturally appropriate outreach materials and thorough coordination of care for African American women diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

According to Carla Dawkins, Outreach Specialist for the Wisconsin Well Woman Program, "being available and visible at the neighborhood level, I'm able to directly offer information and encouragement for African American women to get their mammograms."

For more information on these programs including details on eligibility, check out the following link:




  • Kari Sievert(608) 242-6392
  • Jeff Golden(608) 243-0302