State Health Department Honors 2 for Outstanding Work in Breast Cancer Research and Education

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 19, 2010) – State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., today announced the winners of the 2009 Innovation in Breast Cancer Research and Education Awards. The awards are presented annually to individuals, health professionals and non-profit organizations in recognition of their outstanding commitment to breast cancer research and/or education which has had significant impact on the citizens of New York State.

The 2009 award winners are Women at Risk of New York City and Jo Straneva, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), of Lourdes Breast Care, Binghamton.

"I am honored to recognize the recipients of this award," Commissioner Daines said. "Through their tireless efforts and dedication, women and men in the communities they serve have greater access to cancer screening and the highest quality of care, information and support services available."

Women at Risk (WAR®) is a grassroots, non-profit partnership of physicians, patients and volunteers whose mission is to enhance the lives of women at high risk for and living with breast cancer. WAR® seeks to aid underserved communities through the breakdown of the financial, cultural, and language barriers related to quality care. To this end, Women at Risk has funded and conducted innovative breast cancer research, hosted annual educational symposia, and implemented successful educational and support programs for women affected by breast cancer throughout the New York City metropolitan area.

Jo Straneva, FNP, serves as the Clinic Coordinator at Lourdes Breast Center and also provides breast cancer screening services for the Southern Tier Cancer Services Program. Since 1990, Ms. Straneva has provided breast cancer screening and cancer educational programming in community, academic and health care settings. Ms. Straneva has screened more clients in the Southern Tier Cancer Services Program than any other provider or site participating in the program, a sign of her dedication to her patients and the programs in her community.

"Each year, approximately 14,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in New York State, and more than 2,800 die from this disease," Dr. Daines said. "Breast cancer takes a significant toll on the health of New Yorkers, but much progress has been made to prevent, diagnose early and treat this disease and to provide New Yorkers with enhanced health care services. For all races, the five-year survival rate is more than 98 percent for women diagnosed with breast cancer at the earliest stage."

The New York State Department of Health Cancer Services Program Partnerships offer routine screenings for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers to uninsured and underinsured New Yorkers in every county and borough. More than 38,000 women were screened for breast cancer in 2009 through these Partnerships.

Awards were selected by the New York State Breast and Cervical Cancer Detection and Education Program Advisory Council, whose members are appointed by the Governor and the State Legislature to recognize and promote innovation in breast cancer prevention, early detection and research. The Council reviewed nominations which were solicited from public and private groups and organizations statewide.