Sept. 6, 2018 – The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Cleveland Browns have awarded a grant to AxessPointe Community Health Centers, Inc. to address disparities in breast cancer mortality by providing access to breast cancer screening, follow-up of abnormal mammograms and timely access to specialty care if needed. The grant funding was made possible through ACS’s partnership with the NFL and the league’s Crucial Catch campaign.

The grants are the latest in ACS’s Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) program, which provides funding opportunities as part of the ACS’s commitment to reduce disparities in cancer mortality. AxessPointe will receive $100,000 over two years. The grants are focused primarily on African American communities, but also target other underserved populations.

“ACS is excited to work with AxessPointe on this important project,” states Anna Fetzer, Sr. Manager at Primary Care Systems. “This project will have a lasting positive impact on the health and wellness of women in our greater Akron community.”

Breast cancer mortality has steadily declined over the last four decades, largely due to improvements in early detection and treatment. However, not all women have benefited equally from this progress. A faster drop among white women has widened the mortality gap between white and black women. Despite similar rates of disease and screening rates, breast cancer death rates in 2015 were 39 percent higher for black women than white women in the nation and up to 60 percent higher in some states. Access to timely follow-up and high-quality treatment are key drivers of these disparities, especially in underserved communities. Differences in stage of cancer diagnosis, tumor characteristics, obesity and other comorbidities are also contributing factors.

“It is AxessPointe’s mission to provide a quality, affordable and compassionate health home for all patients,” states Chris Richardson, CEO of AxessPointe. “As a federally qualified health center, our purpose is to serve the uninsured and medically under-served populations. This CHANGE program is directly in line with our core values.”

The American Cancer Society is committed to saving lives and addressing the unequal burden for cancer.

Since 2009, the NFL’s Crucial Catch has raised more than $18 million in support of ACS. Funding raised since 2012 has supported ACS’s CHANGE program and has been invested in underserved communities to increase cancer education and awareness and promote life-saving screening tests. To date, health system grantees have reached more than 632,000 individuals with education, patient reminders and navigation to screening, and contributed to 138,000 breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings. These new grants will improve timely access to follow up care along with a continued focus on access to high-quality breast cancer screening for underserved women.

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About The American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 1.5 million volunteers dedicated to saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a world without cancer. From breakthrough research, to free lodging near treatment, a 24/7/365 live helpline, free rides to treatment, and convening powerful activists to create awareness and impact, the Society is attacking cancer from every angle. For more information go to www.cancer.org

About Crucial Catch

The NFL, its clubs, the NFL Players Association and the American Cancer Society are committed to the fight against cancer. Crucial Catch expands the impact of the NFL’s work around breast cancer to address multiple types of cancer through prevention, early detection, and timely access to follow-up care as needed. Since 2009, the first year of the NFL’s Crucial Catch campaign, the league’s work has raised more than $18 million for the American Cancer Society. Money raised through Crucial Catch supports the American Society’s Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) program, which promotes health equity and addresses cancer-related disparities. Visit nfl.com/crucialcatch to learn more and get involved.

About AxessPointe

AxessPointe Community Health Centers, Inc. is a federally qualified health center (FQHC) serving more than 18,500 patients in 2017 throughout Summit and Portage counties. AxessPointe has five current sites in Northeast Ohio, including three in Akron, one in Kent and one in Barberton. An FQHC is a non-profit corporation that delivers primary medical, dental and preventive health services in medically underserved areas. AxessPointe also provides pharmacy, women’s health and behavioral health services. For more information visit axesspointe.org.

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