As part of its commitment to improving community health, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) was a key sponsor of the 2017 LIVE! breast cancer summit for African-American women on Saturday.
This year’s event, also sponsored by West Cancer Center and Baptist Cancer Center and presented by the Memphis Breast Cancer Consortium, brought more than 600 women together to educate, encourage, and support each other in the fight against breast cancer in the African-American community, which historically registers a high mortality rate from the disease.
The summit was held at the G.E. Patterson Family Life and Youth Center at Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ in downtown Memphis.
The annual summit was launched in 2015, when UTHSC brought together grassroots health care and community organizations working to battle breast cancer in the Memphis-area African-American community. UTHSC was also a co-sponsor in 2016. West Cancer Center was the lead sponsor this year.
Many of those attending Saturday had not attended previous summits, said Gustavo Miranda-Carboni, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and UTHSC representative on the organizing committee. This illustrates that the effort to reduce health disparities in the community through this event is reaching new audiences.
Saturday’s agenda included educational sessions on breast health and mammograms, genetics testing, services available to cancer patients, and information on living healthier lives. Mammograms were also available.
The keynote speaker was Merry Moore, a native Memphian, graduate of LeMoyne-Owen College, former employee of Federal Express, wife, mother, and breast cancer survivor. She inspired the audience by recounting her cancer journey.
Judy Seals-Togbo has helped organize the two previous LIVE! summits. A breast cancer survivor and member of Carin’ and Sharin’ Breast Cancer Support Group, she said the event allows her organization and others to reach a large number of women who need to be educated about breast health.
“Many women in this community are uninsured or underinsured and tend to put their families ahead of themselves,” Seals-Togbo said. “They not only need to be educated, but also to be reminded that they are not invincible. My mantra is, if we can save only one woman’s life, it is worth the effort.”
The next LIVE! summit will be hosted by UTHSC on February 3, 2018.