Pin-A-Sister is a breast cancer awareness campaign to educate and promote vigilance about breast health. Pin-A-Sister was formed to encourage our sisters, mothers, daughters, aunts and grandmothers to get screening mammograms.
• Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women and is found in one in eight women in the United States.
• Since the 1990s, deaths from breast cancer continue to decrease because of improved treatments and increased mammography screening rates. However, the death rate remains disproportionally high for African-American women because they are less likely to get mammograms and are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage, when the cancer is less treatable.
• The primary goal of Pin-A-Sister is to increase the number of African-American women age 40 and older who receive their annual screening mammogram.
Jessie Bell is a cancer survivor. Disease free for four years, the Moore Station resident is now an ardent proponent of African-American women taking responsibility for their breast health, which includes getting yearly mammograms for early detection.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even though African-American women have a lower incidence of breast cancer, they are more likely to die of the disease than women in any other racial or ethnic group. In addition, African-American women are less likely to get mammograms, and more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage, when the cancer is harder to treat. “I had a younger friend who died of breast cancer,” Bell said. “She never had a mammogram. I view her death as one that should not have happened.”
Bell’s willingness to discuss her experience with other African-American women is a key strategy of the Pin-A-Sister breast cancer awareness campaign launched by the ETMC Cancer Institute in 2010. Modeled after a program in Chicago, the campaign uses a strategy that has long been successful in the African-American community: Get the church involved.
Breast cancer survivors provide personal testimonies at their home churches through Pin-A-Sister. In addition, churches host Pin-A-Sister ceremonies in which participating women pin each other with pink ribbons and pledge to take better care of themselves by getting annual screening mammograms. To date, more than 7,000 African-American women in Smith County have been pinned.
In recognition of the campaign’s success, the Texas Hospital Association honored ETMC Tyler with its 2012 Excellence in Community Service Award.
Myth or Fact
ETMC has created a serious of posters to address the myths and facts of breast cancer, mammography and other breast topics. The series of posters ask “what kind of patient are you when it comes to your breast health.” Some examples are:
Most cancerous lumps are painful.
Myth. The truth is that most breast cancer lumps do not hurt.
Having breast cancer surgery will spread cancer to other parts of someone’s body.
Myth. Cancer does not spread through the air or during surgery.
Routine breast self exams can help you find changes in your breasts.
True. By doing routine breast self exams, you get to know how your breasts normally look and feel, and you can more easily notice changes. Discuss any changes with your healthcare provider.
It is important to tell your doctor if you find a lump in your breast.
True. It is helpful to remember that most breast lumps are not cancer.
Breast cancer is easier to treat if it’s found early.
True. The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the chances that treatment will work. This is why clinical breast exams, mammograms and a woman’s knowing her risks and knowing what is normal for her are all so important.
To date, 6,500 African-American women in Smith County have been pinned.
For more information on how to get involved please call Regina Davis at 903-596-3190 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org