Muslim Americans Reaching for Health And Building Alliances

The MARHABA: Muslim Americans Reaching for Health and Building Alliances project brings groups of Muslim women from across New York City together in mosques and other community settings to learn about how breast and cervical cancer screening can save their lives. The program also provides information about where in their communities they can get these tests done, at low or no-cost. We strive to increase breast and cervical cancer screening among Muslim women in New York City and increase knowledge and awareness of breast cancer and cervical cancer.

Participate

By participating in the MARHABA project, Muslim women between the ages of 40 and 75 years can learn more about breast and cervical cancer.

MARHABA is a research study, and all women enrolled in the study will have the opportunity to participate in a class about breast and cervical cancer held at a community location and led by a woman from your community. About half of the women enrolled in the study will also receive help to make appointments for breast and cervical cancer screening, and receive support during the screening process. We will then collect a brief survey with you before and after the project. All information you share with us will be anonymous and confidential.


Our Team

Nadia Islam, Principal Investigator

Nadia Islam, PhD, specializes in community based participatory methods and health disparities research within Asian American and immigrant communities, and has expertise in qualitative methods, community-based models of cardiovascular disease and diabetes prevention and management, cancer control research, and access to healthcare issues.

Shilpa Patel, Program Manager

Shilpa Patel is the Program Manager for the MARHABA project.

Gulnahar Alam, Community Health Worker

Gulnahar Alam is the Community Health Worker for the MARHABA project.

Additional team members

  • Victoria Raveis, MA, MPHIL, PHD – Colleges of Dentistry & Nursing, NYU
  • Simona Kwon, DrPH, MPH – Department of Population Health, NYU School of Medicine
  • Annette Maxwell, DrPH – UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
  • Joseph Ravenell, MD, MS – Department of Population Health, NYU School of Medicine
  • Shubhada Dhage, MD – Perlmutter Cancer Center, NYU Langone Medical Center
  • Nassira Bougrab, MPH – Department of Population Health, NYU School of Medicine
  • New York State Department of Health

Why Do I Need to Get Screened?

Regular breast and cervical cancer screening can save your life. Breast and cervical cancer can happen to you even if you are in good health. Learn more about breast and cervical cancer screening, talk to your doctor, and get screened. You and your family will be thankful that you did.

Breast cancer screening

Breast cancer may not always cause symptoms, but it can be found early with a screening test called a mammogram. The risk for breast cancer increases with age. If you are between the ages of 50 and 74 years, get a mammogram every other year. If you are under 50 years or over 75 years, talk to your doctor about when and how often you should be screened.

How is a mammogram done?

  1. You are given a gown to wear for the test.
  2. You will stand in front of an X-ray machine.
  3. A technician will place your breast between two plastic plates. (This will make your breast flat, and may feel uncomfortable at first, but it helps make any changes easier to see.)
  4. A female technician can be requested, if it makes you feel more comfortable.
  5. Results are discussed with your health care provider at a follow-up appointment or via phone call.

Cervical cancer screening

Cervical cancer does not always create symptoms, but there is a screening called a Pap test that can find this cancer early. Cervical cancer is the easiest gynecological cancer to prevent with regular screening tests and follow-up. It also is highly curable when found and treated early. You should start to get regular Pap tests at age 21. If you are between the ages of 30 and 65 years, you should get a Pap test every three years or every five years if you combine the test with the HPV test, which is a test that finds human papillomavirus, a virus that can lead to cervical cancer. Speak to your provider about these screenings at your regular/annual exams to determine if the frequency of screening is right for you.

How is a Pap done?

  1. You are given a gown to wear for the test.
  2. You will lie on an exam table with your feet in stirrups.
  3. Your health care provider will gently open your vagina.
  4. Samples are taken from your vagina and cervix.
  5. Samples are sent to a lab for testing.
  6. A female health care provider can be requested, if it makes you feel more comfortable.
  7. Results are discussed with your health care provider at a follow-up appointment or via phone call.

Additional resources

Cancer Services Program

  • Free or reduced price mammogram and Pap tests for women in Queens
  • 718-670-1561, Monday–Friday, 8am to 4pm

NYU Langone Medical Center

New York State Department of Health Cancer Services

For access to reduced price for screening regardless of insurance

  • 1-866-442-CANCER (2262)

American Cancer Society

  • 1-800-227-2345 (24 hours a day)

ACS Asian Initiative – Flushing, NY

  • 41-60 Main Street Suite 307 Flushing, NY 11355
  • Phone 718-886-8890
  • Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm

ACS Bronx Region Office

  • 2426 Eastchester Road Suite 211 Bronx, NY 10469
  • Phone: 718-991-4576
  • Hours: 10am-2pm

ACS Manhattan

  • 132 West 32nd Street NY, NY 10001
  • Phone: 212-586-8700
  • Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm