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ACS releases new breast cancer video starring all-Native American cast

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Although cancer affects men and women of every age, race, ethnic background and economic class, the disease disproportionately impacts minorities.

For example, in the Native American community, breast cancer strikes Native women less often than others, but tends to be more deadly – primarily due to diagnosis at late stages of the disease. To reverse this trend, and in an effort to educate Native American women on the importance of early detection, the American Cancer Society has developed a new educational video campaign.

Filmed in South Dakota, with an all Native American cast, the society is offering the DVD free to tribal community health clinics, colleges and organizations that wish to promote cancer screening awareness. The DVD contains several versions of the video in different lengths – from a 12-minute vignette to shorter Public Service Announcements.

“Native women need to hear the message from other Native women,” said Roberta Cahill, a Yankton Sioux member who works for ACS. “This is a message of hope, of living a healthy lifestyle, and especially the importance of getting

regular screenings.”

In the video, Native American women share stories of breast cancer survival and encourage other women to get screened. The society involved Native Americans from start to finish in the filming process in order to ensure that the video campaign would be culturally relevant, while at the same time, reaching out to general audiences.

“Most of it is actually storytelling, which is highly valued in the Native population,” Cahill said. “Beautiful nature backdrops add to the visual impact, a Native American spiritual song is used, and parts of the video are in the Lakota language.”

According to ACS, minorities face many obstacles to receiving equal access to cancer prevention, early detection and treatment services. Many lack health insurance, live in rural areas, have low incomes and experience language barriers. Often educational materials are catered for mainstream audiences and do not resonate with ethnic communities. By providing culturally appropriate health education materials such as the new video series, the society is working to eliminate these health disparities.

ACS is giving out 100 free copies of the DVD to health clinics and tribal communities, schools, colleges and health care providers so the film can be shown to Native American women to raise awareness about the importance of breast cancer screening. Reserve a copy or learn more online or call (800) ACS-2345.

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service.