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Pin-A-Sister™/Examínate Comadre™, an initiative by Access Community Health Network (ACCESS), is a faith-based, breast cancer outreach and awareness campaign. The program’s mission is to educate and reduce health disparities and decrease the number of African-American and Hispanic women who develop breast cancer. Celebrating the campaign’s 10th anniversary this year, our awareness and outreach efforts have reached an estimated 4 million people since 2007, spreading the word about the importance of regular proactive screenings. In fact, through the program’s promotions and referrals by community partners, ACCESS has identified 465 cancers and precancers through its screening program.
The campaign strives to educate African-American and Hispanic women about the importance of getting regular mammograms. The myriad responsibilities women juggle as wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, employees, business owners, heads of household or as primary caregivers, often cause women to put their health care needs last. Pin-A-Sister™/Examínate Comadre™ encourages women to take action and take control of their health.
“I think this program has really impacted the women in our church, because they look forward to it every year. It seems like more women are coming in, and they tell me, ‘Oh, I got my mammogram.’ That's what's important. Early detection is the key, and that's the key to survival and better treatment options." – Longtime Pin-A-Sister™/Examínate Comadre™ supporter and breast cancer survivor Deaconess Lillouise Lewis, New Friendship Baptist Church
A common story we hear from women diagnosed with breast cancer is that they had a feeling something was wrong and were too afraid to see the doctor about a lump they felt. Understanding the power of the faith community and the important role faith plays in the lives of African-American and Hispanic women, Pin-A-Sister™/Examínate Comadre™ engages clergy from various denominations, religious and spiritual backgrounds to promote the importance of healthy living and encourage women to get regular mammography screenings and become better stewards of their health. By reaching women with this powerful message and leveraging the “power of the pulpit,” the campaign continues to build momentum and inform women about the benefits of early detection and treatment. In fact, over its ten-year history the campaign has spread to other organizations such as sororities, professional organizations and other community anchors who use the initiative to spread the word to their members.
The 2017 Pin-A-Sister™/Examínate Comadre™ program is supported in part through a generous donation from the Hospira Foundation. The Hospira Foundation was the philanthropic affiliate of Hospira, Inc. Hospira, Inc. was acquired by Pfizer Inc. in September 2015.
According to a 2005 research study in which African-American women heard, read or saw information about breast cancer four or more times in church-sponsored activities, they were 15 times more likely to report getting a mammogram within the past year than those who encountered information only once.
Source: Knowledge About Breast Cancer and Participation in a Faith-Based Breast Cancer Program and Other Predictors of Mammography Screening Among African-American Women and Latinas, Julie S. Darnell, M.H.S.A., A.M., Chih-Hung Chang, Ph.D. and Elizabeth A. Calhoun, Ph.D.