School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

Komen grant expands breast cancer program for uninsured

Robert Burack, M.D.

Robert Burack, M.D.

A program that provides free breast cancer screening and treatment for uninsured women and is overseen by a Wayne State University School of Medicine professor has received $784,731 from the Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure®.

Robert Burack, M.D., professor of Internal Medicine for the School of Medicine and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, will use the grant to extend and enhance the services provided by the Wayne County Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program. The program provides breast screening, follow up and treatment at no cost to uninsured women in the Detroit region.

Since its inception, the program has provided nearly 60,000 free screenings and potentially curative breast cancer treatment to nearly 700 women. The grant will extend program services to an additional 600 women this year, taking it from the current Michigan Department of Community Health assigned caseload of 7,700 to the proposed 8,300. The program will also enhance services, filling the gap for eligible women by providing coverage for breast biopsy fees, as well as treatment of breast cancer for those women denied Medicaid.

In addition, the Karmanos Cancer Institute's Alexander J. Walt Breast Center was awarded funds to cover breast diagnostic and limited breast cancer treatment for women and men who are uninsured or underinsured and who are not eligible for other community support. Karmanos' services are performed by specially-trained practitioners in an organized practice setting within a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center -- one of 40 in the nation and the only one in metropolitan Detroit. The grant will also assist with service gaps for patients enrolled in the Wayne County BCCCP. Grant-supported staff will evaluate all requests for financial assistance, provide Komen for the Cure educational materials, assist with system navigation, encourage follow-up, and help with transportation and outpatient prescription needs.

Each year, the Komen Detroit Race for the Cure® awards 75 percent of the current year’s net proceeds to a diverse group of organizations serving Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Funds support breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment programs for the medically underserved. The remaining 25 percent funds breast cancer research and project grants awarded through Komen for the Cure. Since 1992, the Komen Detroit Race for the Cure® has raised more than $17.5 million.

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