October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and in observance of that, Jodie Felton, representing the Deep South Network for Cancer Control, addressed the Cleveland Mayor and Board of Aldermen at Tuesday night's monthly meeting held at City Hall.
The Deep South Network builds upon community infrastructures, state partnerships and coalitions to provide cancer awareness activities, support minority enrollment in clinical trials and promote the development of minority junior biomedical researchers.
"The Deep South Network for Cancer Control is a community based, participatory research program run by the University of Alabama at Birmingham," said Felton. "We have a entered into partnership with University Medical Center in Jackson as well as with other local hospitals, clinics, churches and civil groups around the south to bring awareness of breast cancer, cervical cancer and colorectal cancer."
Felton said that the mission of the network is to target the population areas where women and men are rarely, if ever, screened for cancer.
"Because breast cancer is on the rise in the Mississippi Delta, UAB has targeted Sunflower and Bolivar counties as a research area," Felton explained. "We have been in these areas now for a year this month and our work here continues."
Felton went on to say that the death rate from cancer is greater in African American communities compared to those in Caucasian communities.
"Statistics show a great disparity between death rates caused by breast cancer in the African American community and the Caucasian community," she said. "The reason for this is that in the African American community, when the cancer is discovered it is often times too late."
Felton said her reason for addressing the board is to ask for its help in getting the message out to the people of Cleveland.
"We are here tonight to ask that you all help us get the message out that early detection saves lives," she said. "We want to become visible here in the community and let the community know that we are here and accessible to the people of Cleveland."
Felton added that anyone who would like to take part, or help with the program is encouraged to contact the Bolivar County representative, Ruthie Hall at 719-4001.
After her presentation, Felton and the other members of the network who were present, everyone in attendance was presented with a pink ribbon administered to their lapels.
The Pink Ribbon is recognized as a symbol of support for breast cancer issues, treatment and especially for finding a cure.