Korean American women are among the least likely to undergo cancer screenings like Pap tests and mammograms. An Oakland-based non-profit health organization is hoping to bring attention to this issue by holding its fourth annual Korean Cancer Walk on Saturday.
The Korean Community Health Service (KCHS) works to improve health care services for the Bay Area Korean community. The funds raised from its walk-a-thon will help keep the center going, according to Korea Daily.

Among the services offered at KCHS, which is operated on a
purely voluntary basis, are free cancer screenings, including
screenings for breast, colon and prostate cancer, as well screenings for Hepatitis B and free flu vaccinations. According to the center, about 300 people received free screenings over the past five years, with three of them undergoing successful surgery thanks in large part to the early detection at KCHS.

Asian-American women are the least likely to have ever had a
mammogram, according to the American Cancer Society. They are also the least likely to undergo a Pap test, the standard when checking for cervical cancer, with a high proportion saying they have never heard of the test. And among Asian Americans, Koreans have the lowest prevalence of Pap tests and mammograms.

Statistics also show that Korean Americans consistently rank near the bottom in terms of access to medical coverage and insurance. Reasons range from language and cultural barriers to the high rate of self employment within the community. According to 2009 census figures, 24.9 percent of Korean Americans were uninsured, compared to 15.1 percent of the general population.

KCHS Director Clara Song says support from the local Korean community is vital to the ongoing success of KCHS. "It is our hope that residents of the East Bay, and particularly second generation Korean Americans, get behind the event this weekend," she says.

The Korean Cancer Walk, a 5 km event open to everyone, will be held onApril 30 at Lake Merritt in Oakland.