MetroChiBrstCncrAward400State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) received the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force's "Legislator of the Year" award for her work to end breast cancer detection disparities.

"I'm honored to aid the fight against demographic and ethnic disparities among breast cancer survivors. Early detection can save lives if we educate women about breast density and its effect on diagnosing cancer," Hunter said.

Low public awareness, gender-based stigmas and hereditary breast density increase late detection. Dense breast tissue increases the difficulty of early detection. This disproportionately affects minorities who hereditarily are more likely to have dense breast tissue.

Ethnic disparities in treatment and diagnoses exist despite major strides in detection and treatment.

Hunter sponsored legislation to create the Carolyn Adams Ticket for the Cure, a scratch-off lottery ticket which raises money for breast cancer research. She also supported measures to increase early detection for women with dense breast tissue through emerging 3-D mammography technology.