The Witness Project, sponsored by the UAMS College of Public Health and founded by the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, educates African-American and medically underserved women and refers them to low-cost or free mammograms and clinical breast exams in their communities. Mobile mammography units provide screenings for women living in counties with limited access to certified mammography facilities. The program also assists women with transportation and other unmet needs. Educational programs are presented at churches, civic centers, job sites and during community activities.
In the past five years, The Witness Project has educated and assisted more than 12,000 women in 23 Arkansas counties. Since January 2007 alone, the program has reached more than 1,150 women with information about the importance of early detection of breast cancer and has referred almost 330 women for mammograms and clinical breast exams. Of the 330 women referred, 275 women received mammograms.
The Witness Project was featured on CNN Headline News in October 2006, was the recipient of the Arkansas Women of Essence Award for 2007 and was one of the beneficiaries of The Breast Cancer Dance Project for 2007.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the United States and the leading single cause of death overall in women between the ages of 40 and 55. According to the American Cancer Society, 1,830 new cases of breast cancer were detected in Arkansas in 2007 and 410 lives were expected to be lost.
Nationwide, there is a new diagnosis every three minutes and a death from breast cancer every 14 minutes. While advances have been made in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure, early detection still affords the best opportunity for successful treatment. Programs such as The Witness Project help ensure that all women have access to early detection information and options, even economically disadvantaged and medically underserved women.
“We are proud that the Avon Foundation shares the mission of The Witness Project. With these funds, The Witness Project will be able to reach more ladies in Arkansas’ Delta region with early-detection screenings and provide services to these ladies who would not otherwise be screened,” said Linda Shelby, Witness Project role model.**** The Avon Foundation Inc. has funded community-based programs designed to improve utilization of regular breast cancer screening by at-risk populations (minority and under-insured) since 1993. The Witness Project at UAMS and other programs are dedicated to educating underserved women about breast cancer and linking them to early detection screening services.
For information on The Witness Project, call Charlie Stayton at (800) 275-1183 or (501) 661-9603.
To learn more about the Avon Foundation, call (866) 505-AVON or visit www.avonfoundation.org