breast cancer

How A License Plate Could Save Thousands From Breast Cancer

New legislation aims to use funding to hire "navigators" to reach the underinsured.

NBC Universal, Inc.

There's a new effort to close the breast cancer mortality gap in African American communities in Illinois.

A new report by Susan G. Komen puts Chicago on a list of 10 cities with the worst breast cancer inequities. It cites racism, transportation challenges and obstacles faced by the underinsured that all contribute to a breast cancer mortality rate of nearly 40% for African American women, higher than any other race or ethnic group.

"The accessibility and access to quality care is a big issue," said Senior Director of Health Equity Initiatives for Susan G. Komen, Omatola Gordon-Rose. "We’ve seen that many hospitals, area hospitals, that invest in these improvements turn away patients due to the type of insurance that they have, such a Medicaid."

State legislation is on its way through the House where HB 5026 is expected to be passed by the end of the week. It will then be sent to the Senate.

If passed, it would allocate up to $170,000 annually to the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. The funding would come from mammogram license plates in Illinois.

State Rep. La Shawn Ford said that funding will then go to hiring "navigators" to assist communities of color with high rates of disparities.

"There's the possibility of 200 jobs that will be created to help women get the treatment that they need," said Rep. Ford. “…to go out in these communities like Austin, Englewood [and] Roseland."

Rep. Ford also highlighted that taxpayers wouldn’t be footing the bill for this initiative.

To hear a Chicagoan’s personal breast cancer story and reaction, watch the story above.

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