ICHS expands breast cancer prevention with $105,000 Susan G. Komen Grant

B-HOPE project aims to improve survival rates for women facing barriers to breast health information and screenings

International Community Health Services (ICHS) was awarded a $105,000 community grant from Susan G. Komen Puget Sound that will expand women’s breast cancer prevention. The grant supports the ICHS Breast Health Outreach, Prevention, and Education (B-HOPE) project, which promotes early breast cancer detection among low income, minority, immigrant and refugee women in Seattle and King County.

“We are thrilled to see our extensive experience and impact within the community recognized with our largest Komen grant to date. It will allow us to move our B-HOPE project beyond education and outreach, to also include screening, diagnosis and follow up,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “ICHS’s Women’s Preventive Health Services and community advocacy programs have received funding from Komen’s Puget Sound chapter for more than a decade. Our long partnership is grounded in a mutual commitment to make screenings more accessible to all women because early detection saves lives.”

The B-HOPE project prioritizes outreach to the Pacific Islander, Latina, Asian Indian and East African communities, with a focus on women who have never or rarely had a breast health exam. Key activities will include providing breast health education at community events, offering interpretation and help signing up for health insurance, organizing community presentations and support groups, and providing free or low cost screenings at ICHS clinics and health fairs through a partnership with Swedish Mobile Mammography Services.

“This grant will allow us to reach women who have traditionally had difficulty accessing preventative care, including immigrants and refugees who may not have access to affordable screenings or treatment in their home countries,” said Rana Amini, ICHS health services manager, on behalf of ICHS at Komen’s 2019 Community Impact Celebration on April 18. “The inability to find providers who can speak their language can be a grave difficulty. Cultural barriers can keep women from accessing the care and support that they need. For example, some women may not feel comfortable discussing breast health with male providers. Others may associate medical treatment with pain or sickness. For these reasons, patient navigation and education are crucial to reducing barriers to breast cancer screenings for low-income women and those who speak limited English.”

In 2018, ICHS helped more than 5,000 women better understand the importance of early breast cancer detection through its activities at community events and health fairs. Since 2008, more than 24,000 women have received mammograms through ICHS, and more than 36,000 women have benefited from breast health outreach and education offered by B-HOPE staff. Among the ways ICHS partners with Komen is through its annual support of the “Race for the Cure,” now known as the “More than Pink” walk. On June 2, an ICHS fundraising team will join this year’s walk at Seward Park.

According to Susan G. Komen’s 2015 community profile report, area Pacific Islander women are most likely to be late in detecting breast cancer among all ethnic groups. Fifty-eight percent are not diagnosed until a late stage. Pacific Islander women also have the lowest five-year survival rate at 82%.

2019 Komen grant, health services