TSU to provide free breast cancer screenings to more than 1,300 minority women

Grant enables TSU to offer services to minority women

HOUSTON – Research shows African American women have worse breast cancer outcomes than other women due to advanced disease at diagnosis.

Now, a new grant is helping Texas Southern University eliminate this disparity by improving access to screening and prevention.

The $1 million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, allows TSU to provide free breast cancer screenings and other services to more than 1,300 Black and other ethnic minority women over a three-year period.

“It’s unfortunate to see the number of women who are diagnosed, especially ethnic minority women. And when we look even closer at the African American population, the number is higher compared to Caucasian women. When we take a closer look at morbidity and mortality, these numbers are also higher among African American women,” said Dr. Veronica Ajewole, BCSPC’s program director, principal investigator and associate professor in TSU’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences.

The program criteria include:

  • First-time screen or rarely screened
  • Uninsured or underinsured
  • Age 40 and older (Or if high risk, younger than 40)
  • Living in Harris, Grimes, Matagorda, Walker, Wharton Counties

Houston singer Natalie Sells recently received her first mammogram since the start of the pandemic through the TSU Breast Cancer Screening and Prevention Center.

“I said, ‘oh man that’s a blessing’. With Corona I couldn’t work, I could do anything, so I didn’t have the income or the insurance,” the 49-year-old Sells told KPRC 2.

According to the American Cancer Society, women ages 40-44 have the option to begin annual breast cancer screening, women 45-54 should get mammograms every year, and women 55 and older can continue yearly screening or switch to mammograms every two years.

Through a partnership with The Rose and Houston Methodist Cancer Centers, the grant program will provide both mobile mammography and in-clinic services.

“Ultimately, we are able to address the barrier of access to care,” Dr. Ajewole said.

Natalie’s mammogram came back normal, putting her health back on track and giving her peace of mind.

“My grandmother used to tell me, ‘it’s better to know where you’re at so you know where you’re going’. You can’t say, ‘oh I’m a healthy person if you don’t know what your health is,’” she said.

Women who are interested in receiving services can call 713-313-4424 or email breastcenter@tsu.edu for more information.

Services can also be requested via Linktree at or by texting TSUBreastcenter to 855-264-9031

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