When Amy Klobuchar gave birth a quarter century ago, her baby, who couldn’t swallow, was rushed to intensive care. Though her daughter was being tested and fitted with a feeding tube, Klobuchar, now a U.S. senator from Minnesota, was sent home. Klobuchar’s insurance required new mothers to be discharged within 24 hours of birth. Despite her daughter’s precarious health, Klobuchar’s time was up. The future Democratic presidential candidate checked into a nearby motel and wore a rut—still in her hospital gown—between her room and the hospital so she could pump breast milk for her newborn.
A new program offering free ultrasound screenings to young black women aims to raise awareness about the high incidence of aggressive breast cancers in African Americans. The Connecticut Breast Health Initiative has awarded a $33,350 grant to begin a five-year breast ultrasound screening study involving black women ages 25 to 39. “We need to get the word out,” said Dr. Kristen Zarfos, a breast surgeon at the Hospital of Central Connecticut who applied for the grant. “Young African American women are developing aggressive tumors and nobody understands why.”
The study will examine the effectiveness of breast ultrasound as an early detection tool for aggressive tumors in young black women. Women can get the screenings at two sites: the Medical Arts Center in Plainville adjacent to the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at the Hospital of Central Connecticut and the Imaging Center of West Hartford.