Health Care Researcher to Present Keynote Speech at Komen CSNJ’s Upcoming Breast Cancer Conference: Bridging the Gaps to Quality Breast Cancer Care
Susan G. Komen Central and South Jersey (Komen CSNJ) achieves its mission of saving lives, in part, by tackling issues that prevent women in our service area from obtaining comprehensive breast cancer care. In New Jersey, it is estimated that over 7,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. For these women, barriers to care range from lack of culturally competent providers on the systems level to language barriers and lack of health coverage on an individual level.
For millions of Americans, the passage of the Affordable Care Act expanded access to health care through insurance coverage. However, despite the progress it has made, thousands of women remain without access to breast cancer screening, diagnostic and treatment services. Many of these women are at a disproportionate risk of being uninsured, lacking access to breast cancer care and experiencing poor breast cancer outcomes, particularly minorities and low-income individuals. The goal of our Affiliate is to increase accessibility to breast cancer services for these individuals by shining a light on barriers and challenges that continue to exist among our health care community.
The 2017 Breast Cancer Conference: Bridging the Gaps to Quality Breast Cancer Care will take place on Friday, November 17 at Rutgers University-Camden to address disparities and inequities in breast cancer care. The conference will feature health care researchers and practitioners speaking on a variety of barriers and challenges relating to disparities and inequities in care in New Jersey.
We are proud to introduce Dr. Antoinette Stroup as the conference’s keynote speaker. Dr. Stroup is an accomplished and respected healthcare researcher making an impact in the cancer community. She is currently the director of the New Jersey State Cancer Registry for the New Jersey Department of Health, and division chief of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology at Rutgers School of Public Health.
Dr. Stroup has worked in the cancer surveillance and research field for more 16 years and has extensive experience in cancer registry systems and operations. Some of Dr. Stroup’s research focuses on cancer surveillance, population-based cancer trends and cancer disparities.
Komen CSNJ had a chance to speak with Dr. Stroup to learn more about her passion for reducing disparities and ending this disease forever, and how breast cancer by the numbers in New Jersey can motivate breast cancer care professionals to join Komen CSNJ in breaking down barriers to care.
Komen CSNJ: First, let’s start with a little bit about you. Tell us a fun fact!
Dr. Antoinette Stroup: Hafa Adai! (pronounced ha-fa-day): it means ‘hello’ in the Chamorro language!
I am a native Chamorro from the island of Guam, which is a US Territory in the Pacific. I was born and raised there but have lived in the continental United States now for nearly 30 years.
Komen CSNJ: How did you find yourself working in the fields of cancer research and health care?
Dr. Stroup: Like many of my colleagues in the cancer registry and research community, I became interested in studying cancer after my father died from liver cancer. My family has also been touched by breast cancer, making me ever more determined to continue the work that I do alongside my colleagues at the New Jersey State Cancer Registry, the Rutgers Cancer Institute and School of Public Health, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR).
Komen CSNJ: We are thrilled to have you as our keynote speaker for the 2017 Breast Cancer Conference. What made you interested in wanting to present at this event?
Dr. Stroup: Based on 2010–2014 data, New Jersey ranks 8th in the US for its incidence rate of breast cancer among women at 132 per 100,000, which is also significantly higher than the US average of 123.5 per 100,000. With an average of 7,215 women diagnosed each year from 2010–2014, it is currently the most widely diagnosed cancer in New Jersey, followed only by prostate and colorectal cancers with an average of 6,643 and 4,335 cases diagnosed each year for the same time period, respectively. However, cancer surveillance data show that breast cancer health disparities exist in New Jersey, and these disparities intersect racial, ethnic, economic, cultural, and geographic contexts. I hope to provide the audience with a deeper perspective of how these contexts play a role in the breast cancer story of New Jersey’s women.
Komen CSNJ: What are some of the major themes or challenges that this data reveals in terms of health disparities? Why is it important that health care professionals come together to discuss this data?
Dr. Stroup: We cannot address the significant disparities in breast cancer without considering the context in which our communities live. New Jersey has more than 8.9 million people, 51% are women. It is not only the most densely populated state with 1,195 individuals per square mile (the US overall has only 87 individuals per square mile), but it is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse with a larger proportion of blacks, Asians, and Hispanics than the US average.
The racial and ethnic diversity alone makes disparities research one of the most important initiatives to advance in our state; however, New Jerseyans may also feel the impact resulting from economic inequality and cultural diversity as we have more individuals who are foreign born (21.7% in NJ versus 13.2% US average), more households that speak a language other than English in the home (30.5% in NJ versus 21% US), and we rank 9th in the country for income inequality where the income of the top 1% is 25 times more than the bottom 99%.
Komen CSNJ: How do the themes or challenges that you mention connect to the breakout session topics that will be discussed at the conference, and why is it important that they are discussed?
Dr. Stroup: The contextual issues I mentioned supports our approach in the conference’s breakout sessions as we aim to address breast cancer health through the lens of disparate communities. We explore the roles of patient navigators, the impact of cultural and linguistic differences in health care and discuss both the challenges and potential strategies for addressing the health care needs of some of the most underserved populations.
Komen CSNJ: What do you hope the audience will take away from your presentation and the overall conference?
Dr. Stroup: My goal is a simple one: to provide a population-based perspective of key breast cancer surveillance statistics through the lens of New Jersey’s diversity.
Friday, November 17 | 9AM-2:30PM
Join Susan G. Komen Central and South Jersey as we examine issues related to disparities and inequities in breast cancer care and explore strategies for reducing disparities and inequities in care.
All New Jersey health professionals are invited to attend.
Learn more: www.komencsnj.org/bridgingthegaps