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ASU Wins State Grant for Cancer Prevention

January 20, 2012

Angelo State University has been awarded an approximately $1.12 million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to fund a three-year project to provide breast cancer detection and prevention services to citizens of the Concho Valley.

The ASU project is titled “Access to Breast Care for West Texas – Concho Valley” and is being overseen by Dr. Linda Ross, executive director of ASU’s Center for Community Wellness, Engagement and Development, and Dr. Leslie Mayrand, dean of ASU’s College of Health and Human Services.  The project will be coordinated through ASU’s regional office of the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health, which is also directed by Ross. 

“The grant will provide funding for mammograms and other diagnostic tests aimed at breast cancer detection for uninsured and underinsured women in Public Health Region 9, beginning with the Concho Valley,” Ross said.  “We are partnering with San Angelo Community Medical Center and Shannon Health System to provide these services, as well as Heart of Texas Memorial Hospital in Brady and Lillian M. Hudspeth Memorial Hospital in Sonora, who will provide mammograms. In addition, the grant will also pay transportation costs for women to obtain services, and will also fund a public awareness campaign targeting all women throughout the Concho Valley.” 

“This grant provides the Laura W. Bush Institute the opportunity to impact the lives of women in the Concho Valley,” she added.  “Through our health care partners, we will be able to provide early detection of breast cancer and prevent advanced disease.” 

According to CPRIT, the cost of cancer treatment in Texas was $28.1 billion in 2011, an increase of $2.8 billion over 2010, and an overall 28.6 percent increase since CPRIT began calculating cancer costs in 2007. 

“This latest report confirms what we all know – that cancer is a costly disease – not only in dollar amounts, but more importantly in lives lost,” said Jimmy Mansour, chairman of the CPRIT Oversight Committee.  “We must keep up the fight Texans are waging against cancer.” 

For 2012, more than 15,000 cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in Texas, with 374 cases expected in Public Health Region 9, and 72 expected cases in Tom Green County.  Of the 14 counties in the Concho Valley, only Tom Green, McCulloch and Sutton counties offer mammography services, and many other West Texas counties lack even access to mobile mammography. 

“The burden of breast cancer treatment and mortality,” said Ross, “can be significantly reduced by early detection via screening mammography and by chemoprevention.  Many women are not routinely screened for breast cancer and even fewer are offered high-risk counseling and chemoprevention.” 

“The best estimate of screening rates in the most urban parts of the Concho Valley is less than 40 percent,” she added.  “This initiative will target and serve women, beginning in the Concho Valley, who are largely Hispanic, underserved in terms of access to health care, and in many cases, living in rural areas.” 

ASU is one of 11 institutions approved for grants totaling more than $29.2 million at CPRIT’s quarterly board meeting this week in Austin.  Others receiving grants include the Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Department of State Health Services, University of Texas Health Science Centers at Houston and San Antonio, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and University Health System in San Antonio. 

CPRIT was established through an amendment to the Texas Constitution in 2007 that also authorized the issue of $3 million in bonds to fund groundbreaking cancer research and prevention programs and services in Texas.  Under the guidance of its Oversight Committee, CPRIT awards grants for a wide variety of cancer-related research and the delivery of prevention programs and services by public and private Texas entities.  All CPRIT-funded research is conducted in state by Texas-based scientists. 

More information on CPRIT is available at www.cprit.state.tx.us/

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