Breast cancer deaths high in Wyandotte County - KCTV5

Breast cancer deaths high in Wyandotte County

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Wyandotte County leads the nation in Stage IV breast cancer deaths.

The national rate is 25 percent, while Wyandotte County is at 27 percent. Experts say this trend can be reversed.

On any given day, one can find Consuelo Ross hard at work, trying to raise awareness of a silent killer - breast cancer. Sadly, it is a subject Ross knows all too well.

"My mother was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. She only survived one year after that diagnosis. I was 24 at the time and didn't really know what I was dealing with. Then, at the age of 33, I was diagnosed with breast cancer," Ross said.

Ross has formed the group, Surviving the Odds, a nonprofit organization working to help women of color fight breast cancer.

Surviving the Odds is now part of the Wyandotte County Breast Cancer Task Force. Ross is the group's president.

"We just had our quarterly meeting a couple weeks ago. A lot of people expressed very strong interest in doing what needs to be done in Wyandotte County," Ross said.

Wyandotte County has a very high rate of both breast cancer detection and breast cancer deaths. Ross and others said part of the reason for those high numbers is a lack of early detection.

Nearly 40 percent of women in Wyandotte County weren't screened for breast cancer. That can often mean the difference between life and death.

"If we diagnose the cancer when it's limited to the breast and lymph nodes, we have ways to eliminate the cancer at that stage," said Dr. Melissa Mitchell, an oncologist at the University of Kansas Hospital.

The hospital is partnering with the Wyandotte County Breast Cancer Task Force.

For one, Ross is convinced mortality rates will come down.

"We don't want this to dwindle in 10, 15, or 20 years, because we know we're capable of getting this done fairly quickly," she said.

For more on the Wyandotte County Breast Cancer Task Force, click here.

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