Susan G. Komen grants $65,000 award to train more breast cancer advocates

Susan G. Komen Nebraska Affiliate $65,000 grant will train more advocates to help women get appropriate early detection, treatment and follow-up breast cancer services.

The Nebraska Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® has awarded the University of Nebraska Medical Center a $65,000 grant that will train 10 to 15 more advocates to help women get appropriate early detection, treatment and follow-up breast cancer services.

The Community Breast Health Navigator and Cancer Support Program is designed to provide support for women being evaluated for, or undergoing diagnosis and treatment for, breast cancer at any hospital or clinic. Women trained as volunteer navigators can accompany women to appointments in Douglas County before proceeding with diagnostic or treatment recommendations.

The program is looking for women dealing with breast cancer who could benefit from the free program, as well as those who wish to be volunteer navigators.

Navigators serve as a second set of ears for patients and advise them on the best approaches they have learned are needed to obtain breast care that matches best practice national guidelines.

Last year, Komen funded a grant for $56,518, which trained 11 women. The program is the only one of its kind in the nation, said Edibaldo Silva, M.D., Ph.D., UNMC surgical oncologist and director of the navigator program.

“This program is unique in the nation. We are training navigators to recognize the best approaches to treating breast cancer,” Dr. Silva said. “It’s like bringing a family member or friend along to an appointment except the advocate is trained.

“Last year we had an overwhelming response from women in the community who stepped forward to be volunteer advocates. Now we want to train more. The program originally addressed disparities in African-American and Hispanic communities. It soon became clear that the issue of variation from best practice patterns is prevalent in all women.”

Co-directors of the grant, Phyllis Nsiah-Kumi, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine, and Jackie Hill, a nurse practitioner in the UNMC College of Public Health and breast cancer survivor, said the grant also helps improve the health literacy of patients -- the ability to understand health-related information and make informed decisions.

Navigators complete a rigorous training course that focuses on breast cancer care guidelines supported by the latest medical research and recommended by national experts, as well as how to effectively communicate with patients and health providers.

For more information, go to www.nebraskabreasthealthnavigator.org or call 402-559-8883 or e-mail info@nebraskabreasthealthnavigator.org.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, and the Nebraska Affiliate is one of 125 Affiliates on the front lines dedicated to ending breast cancer in their communities. Komen Affiliates fund innovative programs that help women and men overcome the cultural, social, educational and financial barriers to breast cancer screening and treatment. Up to 75 percent of net proceeds generated by the Affiliate stays in the state of Nebraska. The remaining 25 percent funds national breast cancer research. For more information, call 402-502-2979 or visit www.komennebraska.org.

Through world-class research and patient care, UNMC generates breakthroughs that make life better for people throughout Nebraska and beyond. Its education programs train more health professionals than any other institution in the state. Learn more at unmc.edu.



Vicky Cerino
UNMC Public Relations
(402) 559-5190