Founded in 1944, HRET is a not-for-profit organization involved in research, education, and programs addressing health management and policy issues. The money would be used to help HRET's Breast Cancer Awareness Project.
"New Jersey must do more to prevent breast cancer and help those women who contract the disease," said local Assemblywoman Joan Quigley (D-32nd Dist.), co-sponsor of several bills dedicated to combating breast cancer.
In 1998, approximately 800,000 women worldwide were diagnosed with breast cancer. By mid-2000, virtually every nation in the world was reporting rising incidence rates for the disease, especially among older women. Because the potentially fatal illness has no cure, prevention and early detection are a person's best defense.
The HRET Breast Cancer Awareness Project will be designed to provide up-to-date information to New Jersey women about accessible breast cancer screening sites that provide services to undeserved, high-risk populations free of charge or at a reduced rate. The project will do so through community-based organizations and primary care providers. More specifically, the project will:
expand and update the existing HRET resource guide to reflect its larger database of licensed mammography providers statewide and to include expanded provider listings that include free and reduced services offered;
compile a comprehensive directory and county-specific summaries of all mammography providers in the state, focusing on free and reduced-fee services, acceptance of Medicaid coverage, education, instruction in breast self-examination, follow-up services and support groups;
develop and disseminate this information through 21 county-specific brochures (both in English and Spanish) that will be provided to women through primary care providers, providers of obstetrical/gynecological services, and community-based organizations. They will also produce a comprehensive directory that will be provided to organizations and libraries throughout the state and on the Internet;
conduct public awareness activities to alert health care providers and the community at large of the availability of this updated information.
"This guide was last updated in 1995," said Republican Assemblyman Sam Thompson, a co-sponsor. "By assembling the most current information possible, we can help ensure all New Jerseyans have access to invaluable mammograms and breast cancer screenings."
The project's main component - to help update the Breast Cancer Resource Guide - will provide contact information for services and providers throughout the state. This would provide a list of licensed mammography provides and include information on free or reduced-rate services. A county-specific directory of state health provides would be complied that focuses on medical care coverage, education, instruction in breast self-examination, follow-up services and support groups. These resources would be printed in English and Spanish. Quigley introduced her bill in an effort to provide accurate and updated knowledge for New Jersey women. "By providing funding for this update effort, the legislature would help facilitate the partnerships incorporated with the project," said Quigley recently. "Breast cancer is too widespread a disease for us to delay such an important undertaking."
A calendar with a cause
B onnie Maranz , a former Hoboken artist, has work featured in a calendar as part of a fund-raising effort for the New Jersey Breast Cancer Research Fund. Because New Jersey has some of the highest breast cancer rates in the country, a low rate for participation in clinical studies, and does not receive its fair share of federal research dollars (based on National Cancer Institute and Department of Defense spending per capita), there are a large number of New Jersey breast cancer issues that must be addressed.
Maranz, who has M.A. in fine arts from Montclair State University, teaches art in schools throughout Northern New Jersey in the New Jersey Center of Visual Arts, The Hudson School and even Seton Hall University and at workshops in places as remote as Bermuda and Tuscany. Her work has been exhibited widely throughout the state, including galleries, museums and schools in Montclair, Bloomfield, Hoboken, Berkeley Heights, Summit, Maplewood, Mount Holly, Elizabeth, Plainfield, Newark, Livingston, Kenilworth and Paramus. Her work has also been seen at South Hampton College on Long Island and in New York's Ward-Nasse Gallery.
"A couple of friends of mine died of breast cancer," she said recently. "So when I was approached to help do the calendar, we went through some of my work to see what she thought would be."
Although the art was not specifically about breast cancer, Maranz's work tended to emphasize themes involving the body, and so seemed ideal for the proposed calendar. Her piece, "Woman: Morph Series," displays a sculptural figure of a woman that seemed to capture the spirit of the calendar.
"I do a lot of figurative work, some of it abstract, some of it realistic," she said. "The piece is a bimorphic study of the human body."
The calendar provides helpful information about breast cancer including reminder stickers for breast self-exam and an annual mammogram. It contains healthy eating tips, inspirational quotes and valuable resource information. One hundred percent of proceeds raised through the calendar will support innovative breast cancer research at non-profit institutions throughout New Jersey.
The calendar is jointly sponsored by the Breast Cancer Research Advisory Group to the New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research and Rutgers University. Bristol-Myers Squibb has provided a major educational grant to support its development
The suggested donation for the calendar is $10. For more information or to purchase a calendar, you can call the New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research at (609) 633-6552 or mail a check or money order made payable to the New Jersey Breast Cancer Research Fund, 28 West State St., Rm. 715, PO Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360.