BEST PRACTICES AWARENESS OUTREACH STRATEGIES: BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Over 200 mayors have joined The Mayors' Campaign Against Breast Cancer to increase awareness and screening in their communities. Kicked off by The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) in November 1997, the goal of the initiative is to save lives through the early detection of breast cancer. 

Support for the Campaign 
In keeping with its reliance on public/private partnerships to increase breast cancer screenings, in October 1997 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) entered into a five-year cooperative agreement with the Conference to conduct this initiative. The objective is to encourage women - - particularly those who are low-income, over fifty years old, and/or of racial and ethnic minorities - - to seek breast cancer screening. CDC has provided more than 1.7 million screenings since 1991 through its National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) and looks to increase this number with the support of the mayors. Currently, CDC estimates that only twelve to fifteen percent of those who are eligible are taking advantage of NBCCEDP-supported mammography.

The American Cancer Society (ACS), another supporter of the mayors' campaign, estimates that 175,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in 1999 and that 43,300 will die from this disease. However, it is known that early detection and treatment can reduce breast cancer deaths by one-third in women fifty years and older.  

Campaign Activities and Areas of Concentration 
Information exchange forms the core of the USCM campaign so that mayors may take advantage of each other's experiences in promoting breast cancer awareness. These experiences are being presented through Conference of Mayors publications such as U. S. Mayor and special editions of Best Practices for Cities and Information Exchange; related activities at USCM's annual and winter meetings; and one-on-one contacts with the Conference staff and cities participating in the campaign.While mayors are free to select their own local activities, each year The Mayors' Campaign Against Breast Cancer has - - within the overall goal of encouraging more women to seek screening - - a specific national focus. Accordingly, campaign mayors - - who are also USCM members - - are invited to contribute to a Best Practices publication that presents the annual national focus. The area of concentration during the first year of the campaign has been on breast cancer awareness outreach strategies. During the second year, the focus will be upon treatment plans. The third year will emphasize information exchange about service delivery, particularly for difficult-to-reach populations. Funding alternatives will be presented during the fourth year. For the fifth year campaign members will report on the outcomes of their local initiatives. 

Impetus for the Campaign 
The mayors' campaign grew out of a successful breast cancer awareness forum at the 1997 Winter Meeting, supported by CDC and co-chaired by Mayors Meyera Oberndorf and James Garner. Following this forum, the mayors identified breast cancer as a priority issue in 1997 and recommended that a session be held at the 1997 Annual Meeting to plan for a long-term mayors' initiative against breast cancer. At that session, supported by CDC and ACS, the mayors called for a national campaign against breast cancer. The Zeneca HealthCare Foundation has also been a cosponsor of subsequent campaign activities. 

How to Join 
If you would like to join The Mayors' Campaign Against Breast Cancer, please contact Richard C. Johnson, Director of Health Programs for the Conference, at 202/861-6753, or return the sign-up form that is included in this publication. The campaign is continuous, so mayors may join at any point during the five-year initiative.

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