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Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in women in NYC. Moreover, non-Hispanic Black women have the highest mortality rate and face higher rates of late-stage diagnosis and premature mortality when compared to women in other racial/ethnic groups. Addressing these inequities is a priority for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Cancer Prevention and Control Program. Two strategic responses the Health Department is launching in partnership with the Fund for Public Health NYC are:

1. A Breast Cancer Patient Navigator Program that will increase timely breast cancer screening in Black women and offer continued support along the care continuum. Key elements of this program are to identify patients who are eligible for breast cancer screening, encourage timely screening, and follow up to be sure results are received. The program will also implement continual follow-up with patients who receive abnormal screening and ensure prompt and fair access for patients who need diagnostic and address barriers to care and treatment.

2. A Breast Cancer Coalition to build knowledge and understanding of the causes of higher breast cancer mortality among Black women in NYC, focusing on how our city’s healthcare systems can help address this inequity. The coalition, coordinated by the Health Department, would consist of hospitals and healthcare systems that provide cancer screening and treatment.

The Breast Cancer Patient Navigator Program and the Breast Cancer will benefit from the Health Department’s experience with the Citywide Colorectal Cancer Control Coalition, which has helped increase colonoscopy rates for adults 50 and older by 71% between 2003 and 2020. As part of NYC’s Women’s Health Agenda, the Health Department is committed to replicating similar success in screening and treatment for breast cancer.

Private support is essential to launching the Breast Cancer Patient Navigator Program and the Breast Cancer Coalition. FPHNYC is engaging with foundations, corporations, and philanthropic individuals to help fund these critical initiatives. We welcome your partnership and support so that we can improve lives through more equitable prevention, screening, and treatment for breast cancer in NYC.