AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– Thank you for joining us today as we are wrapping up breast cancer awareness month in a powerful way.

While we absolutely acknowledge the great progress that’s been made in diagnosing and treating breast cancer over the last decade, black women still face a 42% higher death rate compared to that of white women.

Genetic testing provides vital information for women with a family history, so they can take swift and early preventive action… but research shows there’s a gap in breast cancer prevention: not all women have equal access to this life-saving information. Black and minority women often face barriers to genetic testing and are less likely to be informed about it in the first place.

And that’s where my first guest comes in. Lisa Ann Wheeler is the patient navigator with the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program… at the Georgia Department of Public Health. These systemic challenges are certainly something she sees and works to overcome.

Also today, we’re hearing from several patients who have worked with Lisa Ann through the BCCP. Tabitha Simpson, Tonia Gibbons, and Joy Emerson will tell us about their experiences.

Lisa Ann Wheeler is co-founder of “Reduce Your Risk.” The other co-founders, Angela Prince and Carolyn Byrd, join us to show off their fabulous blingy feet– and tell us about monthly events like community walks and cooking classes.

Wheeler and the other women want to spread the word that GDPH offers breast and cervical cancer screenings for uninsured and under-insured women.

“Let’s get you into the Health Department and do that clinical breast exam. And if further imaging is needed, we will do that, too. We cover the PAP, the HPV, the mammogram, and the best part of this program- if it’s needed- we cover all the diagnostics, meaning the diagnostic mammogram and the ultrasound and the biopsy- those are very, very expensive.”

Cervical cancer screening is available to women 21 to 64 and breast cancer screening is available to women between the ages of 40 and 64. Call Lisa Ann Wheeler at 706 667-4255 to see if you qualify.