By Rana Wilson
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breast cancer in the U.S. is the most common cancer in women, no matter the race or ethnicity. Over the course of a lifetime, 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer. It is the most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women and the second most common cause for white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women.
The Vola Lawson Breast Cancer Fund is named for long-time Alexandria City Manager Vola Lawson, who was a lifelong champion for women. After her own diagnosis, Ms. Lawson worked to raise awareness of breast cancer in the community. Her legacy will live on through the fund as it supports Alexandria residents by underwriting mammograms and other preventive services for the uninsured or those who are not fully covered by insurance. The fund partners with Neighborhood Health and the Association of Alexandria Radiologists (AAR), and is managed by the Alexandria Commission for Women, the Friends of the Alexandria Commission for Women, and the Alexandria Department of Community and Human Services.
The Alexandria Commission for Women Status of Women Report, released in November 2018, highlighted the state of women in Alexandria regarding breast cancer and health insurance. It showed that black women are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women in Alexandria, with a mortality rate of 31.3 per 100,000 women. The number of uninsured women in Alexandria is 12 percent.
As a community, we need to continue to raise awareness and educate Alexandria citizens about breast cancer by encouraging annual health screenings for early detection in hopes of decreasing mortality rates. We can support our fellow residents by donating to the Vola Breast Cancer Fund. Please visit www.volalawsonfund.org to donate, volunteer, or learn more.