NFL awards Community Health Center of Franklin County with 2nd year of breast cancer awareness grant

GREENFIELD — For the second consecutive year, the National Football League has awarded the Community Health Center of Franklin County a $50,000 grant to increase breast cancer awareness.

The health center will use that money to teach at least 800 people this year about breast cancer and the importance of annual screenings, said health center Development Director Cameron Carey.

According to the American Cancer Society, the health center was one of 23 cities within 100 miles of an NFL team chosen for funding based on breast cancer statistics. The NFL raises money for the grants each fall.

Franklin County’s screening rate is just over 60 percent, about 10 percent lower than the state average, and the county has a breast cancer mortality rate of just over 30 percent, which is slightly above the state average.

Barriers such as poverty, lack of transportation or busy schedules may deter people from seeking medical attention early or often, said officials.

The health center estimates that staff reached 700 people last year at 20 different outreach events. Staff were on hand to teach people how to check for breast cancer and the importance for annual mammograms.

This year, the health center will expand to 25 events, which will include setting up information tables at existing events. It recruited 100 new patients last year and hopes to add more in 2014.

“(We) will again concentrate on contacting the most vulnerable and most likely overlooked segments of our rural population,” said Chief Medical Officer Flora Sadri in a prepared statement. “We will reach out to migrant farm workers, housing authorities, area women’s resource networks, shelters and local high schools.”

Schools, organizations or resource centers that want to participate in the effort can contact Carey at 413-325-8500, ext. 112.

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