Komen KSWMO Announces Health Equity Task Force to Address Breast Cancer Disparities in African American Women

LEAWOOD, KANSAS –  Susan G. Komen Kansas + Western Missouri (Komen KSWMO) is excited to announce the African American Breast Cancer Mortality Task Force to address health equity in the region. The goal of the task force is to address the astonishing breast cancer mortality rates in African American women within the region. Komen KSWMO recognizes health disparities within the African American community must be addressed in order for equity to be achieved for all.

The recent launch is the next actionable step to positively impact the high breast cancer mortality rates in African American women in this region. “Health inequalities within the African American community have always been prevalent, and it is time to focus on taking the necessary steps to create justice in order to achieve our mission to End Breast Cancer Forever,” said Erica Terry, Chief Executive Officer.

The task force originally began as a project identified in Wyandotte County, where mortality rates for African American women are above the national average. Komen KSWMO began conversations within the Wyandotte County community to better understand how they can address the needs with the ultimate goal of improving survival.

The Taskforce has now expanded to include five counties in Kansas and Missouri: Johnson, Sedgwick, Wyandotte, Clay, and Jackson County. Each of these counties exceed the national average of breast cancer mortality rates for African American women.

The national average for breast cancer mortality rates in African American women is 28.1%. The Sedgwick County mortality rate is 33.8%, Johnson County’s rate is 36.8% and Wyandotte County’s is 23.2%. In Missouri, the state average is 31.1% and Jackson County stands at 30.6%. Clay County has exceptionally high late stage diagnosis rates in breast cancer.

The Task Force will collect qualitative data and implement strategy by helping push conversations within communities. A report will be produced with actionable strategies to implement in the targeted communities to inflict change with a goal of improving survival rates and screening rates for the African American women.