Tennessee group launches special breast cancer license plate campaign to raise awareness

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 5:52 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2022 at 9:47 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Education, survival and victory. That’s the goal of one organization when it comes to a major disparity for breast cancer deaths here in Tennessee.

The Alliance House Community Coalition launched a specialized breast cancer license plate campaign to raise awareness for Black women fighting against breast cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute, certain groups continue to be at risk of developing or dying from this particular cancer.

African Americans have higher death rates than other ethnic groups for many, but not all types of cancer.

Despite having similar rates of breast cancer, Black women are more likely to die of the disease than their white counterparts.

That’s why the Black Women Breast Cancer Awareness Committee is advocating for better services. They say they see this campaign as an opportunity to raise awareness in Tennessee to address the disparities.

“We have to be more aggressive about educating our community about these particular barriers that are taking place,” said De’Ossie Dingus, Alliance House Community Coalition Director. “The plate s the conversation breaker. It’s the ice breaker. Where did you get the plate? What is the plate designed to do? What does it mean? This is the conversation that many of us are not having at the kitchen table.”

The National Cancer Institute says some factors that contribute to the disparities include low health literacy, long travel distances to screening sites and socio-economic status. Those who didn’t have reliable access to health care were more likely to get diagnosed with late-stage cancer.

About 60% of Black women don’t beat their breast cancer diagnosis here in Tennessee. That’s according to The Alliance House Community Coalition.

Right now, the group says they’re paying for roughly 2 dozen women to get mammograms in their community and are hoping that will be the first of many.

Cindy Sanford, a 1-year breast cancer survivor, says early detection is key to fighting the disparities in breast cancer treatment for black women.

“The more that we can educate our women about breast cancer, what that looks like, what that feels like and the warning signs, then they are armed with information to go into a physician and say ‘Hey this is what’s going on. This is not my normal. So let’s figure this out,” said Sanford.

Now in order to get the state to start printing it, the Alliance House Community Coalition says it needs 1,000 pre-orders by June of this year.

The plate in total is $109. You pay $35 to pre-order to get the plate printed and then the remaining balance when you go to pick up the plate.

They say they’re also open to working with other organizations across the state to join this campaign to make this a reality.

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