TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)—Saving lives by bridging cultural divides.

Andrea Fujii explains how a new program hopes to break down the barriers to breast cancer.

Meet two women who’ve beat the odds. They are both minorities who’ve survived breast cancer.

“We as African-American women we don’t discuss our sickness and our illness,” said Marlene King, breast cancer survivor.

But now a program from Saint Joseph’s Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society hopes to change that with a $100,000 grant called One Voice.

“One hundred percent of people who have stage one disease have a five-year survival rate of 100 percent,” said Dr. Michael Schultz, St. Joseph Breast Center.

Early diagnosis is key, but these women say culture, lack of insurance and language barriers keep minorities from getting help.

“I was crying because I did not know where to go,” said Beatrice Korenczuk, breast cancer survivor.

Maryland ranks eighth in the country for the most incidents of breast cancer. Though more white women are diagnosed, 38 percent more Latinas and African-American women die of the disease.

This grant will help 135 women get free mammograms. It’s not a lot but the organizations say it starts the conversation.

St. Joseph will also work with minority groups Nueva Vida and Sisters Network to provide breast education for the city and county.

“To get rid of misinformation about mammography, the fear of diagnosis,” Schultz said.

Classes are already in the works with different ethnicities fighting the same disease with one voice.

St. Joseph Medical Center already has a program in place in which they offer free screening mammograms twice a year.


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