Students to auction art in support of breast cancer

Alyssa Elso/Staff Writer

The Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine is sponsoring an annual art show to raise awareness about late stage breast cancer detection for South Florida women.

Now in its second year, The Mammography Art Initiative 2013 is an art show that partners with local community and student artists to fund breast cancer workshops and mammograms to uninsured and underinsured women.

According to the American Cancer Society, besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women; about one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

A 2010 report prepared by the Disparities and Community Outreach Core estimates that in South Florida alone there are approximately 2,700 new cases of breast cancer every year.

Miami-Dade County also takes the lead in high rates of late stage breast cancer detection at 39 percent, as opposed to the Florida average of 35 percent.

“Late detection is at such a high rate due to lack of access to mammography screenings, follow up care, knowledge and education,” said graduate student Yumi Mendez.

The report also shows that the five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with early stages of breast cancer is at 98 percent, compared to 23 percent for those who detect breast cancer at a late stage.

“The College of Medicine along with the [Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP program, or the Health Education Learning Program,] went into underserved communities of Miami-Dade and found that many residents in the area were not educated on breast cancer awareness nor had the resources to receive mammography screenings, which is what the Art Initiative has helped fund,” said Carolyn Runowicz, the executive associate dean for Academic Affairs and a guest at last year’s event.

Last year’s event raised $10,000 from artwork and donations that helped fund 80 mammograms, according to Mendez.

“This year we hope to raise $25,000 to fund 200 mammograms and to provide educational programs throughout Miami-Dade, especially in areas like Opa-Locka, Hialeah and Miami Gardens where residents have limited access to healthcare,” Mendez said.

Students like Charissa Kendal, a junior psychology major, are passionate about cancer awareness and pleased to have an event that informs college students about the importance of breast cancer awareness and early detection.

“My life has been touched by cancer. While not breast cancer specifically, I think this event is an amazing way for people to get informed on the important subject,” said Kendal.

The Mammography Art Initiative’s second annual art show will be held at the Bakehouse Art Complex in the Wynwood Art District on Oct. 5, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.  General admission is $20 and $5 for students.

A silent auction will be held to sell art pieces that will help fund mammography screenings, provided through the Jackson Memorial Hospital Taylor Breast Health Center’s Mobile Mammovan.

“There are more and more cases of breast cancer nowadays and it is appearing in younger women. Catching it early could save lives,” Kendal said.

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