Woldenberg Park was a sea of yellow and pink t-shirts, balloons, boas, shoes, tutus, socks, caps and all manner of other headgear, in every shade of pink. Breast cancer survivors, their families, friends and the community came out to raise awareness about breast cancer in women of color. The turnout for 2017 Sista Strut New Orleans was huge, and LSU Health New Orleans faculty and staff were part of it.
Sista Strut, a rally and 3k walk, was organized about 20 years ago to highlight the disparities in breast cancer among African-American women. In Louisiana, the numbers are even worse than the national average for this group. Louisiana women of color die from breast cancer at significantly higher rates than the rest of the country, and their incidence of breast cancer is also higher. The event also promotes information about helpful community resources, honors cancer survivors and raises funds to combat the disease. Funding has benefitted organizations like the American Cancer Society and the American Association for Cancer Research. Sista Struts take place in cities all over the country, including Detroit, Memphis and Philadelphia.
Under the leadership of former State Senator Diana Bajoie, LSU Health New Orleans Director of Community Relations, LSU Health New Orleans was a sponsor of this year’s Sista Strut New Orleans. Dr. Denise Roubion-Johnson, Adjunct Instructor in the School of Public Health, taught participants about the importance of early detection and the role breast self examination plays in it using a model to simulate the feel of breast tumors. The team handed out cards with detailed instructions. Johnson also talked about mammograms and the Louisiana Breast and Cervical Health Program at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health. With its partners, the program provides quality breast and cervical cancer screenings at no cost to uninsured and underinsured, lower-income women in Louisiana.
Sistas walked for their mothers, sisters, friends or their own victories over breast cancer. They filled the streets carrying their messages of hope, strength, survival and their search for a cure.