2009 Community Profile Report

  For Immediate Release                               

Rebecca McCoy
Grants and Education Program Manager

The Maryland Affiliate of Susan G. Komen® Releases Report on State of Breast Cancer in Maryland  

Maryland Ranks Fifth in the Nation for Breast Cancer Death Rates

Baltimore, MD (August 5, 2009) Women in Maryland are not diagnosed with breast cancer any more frequently than women in the rest of the country, but they are dying of breast cancer at higher rates. Maryland is ranked fifth in the nation for breast cancer death rates. This year alone, it is estimated that 810 Maryland woman will die from breast cancer.

The Maryland Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure conducted a 10 month study to evaluate the state of breast cancer in their service area. The report analyzed demographic and breast cancer data, reviewed existing breast care programs and services, and summarized survey findings and focus groups with breast cancer survivors and breast health providers. The final Community Profile report revealed that women and families in Komen Maryland’s service area suffer acutely from the impact of breast cancer, especially with regard to death rates.

The Community Profile report uncovered large disparities between regions of the state and populations when it comes to breast cancer screening and treatment. Maryland is home to some of the most prestigious hospital systems in the country but even so there is a shortage of medical providers and resources in certain areas of the state. Even in areas filled with medical resources, many women still do not get the mammograms they need every year. Only 57% of Maryland women 40 years and older get a mammogram and clinical breast exam each year. If women do not have any kind of health insurance that percentage drops to just 34.7%.

The African American community also faces unique breast cancer issues. African American women in Maryland do not have as high an incidence of breast cancer as White women, but African American women have a higher death rate when compared to White women. This means that once diagnosed, an African American woman has a greater chance of dying of breast cancer than a White woman.

The statistics are alarming, but Maryland has the resources to increase screening, help keep those diagnosed with breast cancer alive and to support families living with breast cancer. Komen Maryland has developed an action plan to work across the state and in hard hit areas to strengthen and build the capacity of existing breast health providers and increase breast health awareness and stress the importance of screening in African American communities. Partnerships with local community organizations are vitally important to outreach and education and to make sure women get the screening and treatment they need. Komen Maryland funds breast cancer screening, education and treatment grant programs. Last year Komen provided approximately $2 million in community grants. The next call for grant applications will go out in August and will encourage grant seekers to use the Community Profile as a guide. The complete report can be found on the Komen Maryland website at www.komenmd.org.