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How Donors Are Reducing Breast Cancer Disparities

Donor support is helping decrease breast cancer mortality and disparities in survival in the region.

As a breast cancer medical oncologist and co-leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine,Katherine Weilbaecher, MD Katherine Weilbaecher, MD, sees the large disparities of breast cancer mortality between Black and white patients, particularly for patients living in north St. Louis City and north St. Louis County.

As a result, she established the Breast Cancer Equity Group (BCEG) with donor support in 2022. The BCEG aims to decrease breast cancer mortality in the region and in underrepresented women through earlier screening and risk assessments and by providing patients with access to world-class personalized care and clinical trials. These efforts will help patients receive a diagnosis at an earlier, more treatable stage.

Progress in 2023 included launching a pilot mammography clinic in north St. Louis County once a week with a nurse navigator. The clinic provides same-day mammogram results. The nurse navigator performs risk assessments, schedules follow-up if needed, answers questions, and helps navigate financial barriers to treatment. The clinic has high patient satisfaction, and the average time to follow-up or biopsy is now two to three weeks, down from two to three months.

Donors to the Foundation also support Siteman’s mobile mammography van that offers services in under-resourced communities around the region to provide easier access to lifesaving mammograms. Make a gift today!

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