CDC Foundation Awards Grants for Mobile Mammography Screening Programs with Funding from the Avon Foundation

The CDC Foundation today announced that eight community organizations have been awarded grants to implement mobile mammography screening programs to reach underserved women, such as the uninsured or those living in geographically remote areas. Funding for the initiative was provided by a $4.1 million gift from the Avon Foundation.

In 2002, over 211,000 cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in the United States, and nearly 40,000 women died from the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), timely mammography screening among women aged 40 or older could prevent roughly 16 percent of all breast cancer deaths. CDC says 3.5 million women between the ages of 40 and 64 are uninsured, have limited income and are less likely to be screened. These women are more likely to have their cancers diagnosed at a later stage and therefore have a higher risk of dying from the disease.

“While CDC and its partners have been able to reach uninsured and underserved women through community-based breast and cervical cancer screening services, there still is a critical need to find innovative ways, like these mobile mammography vans, to increase the number of women who have access to life-saving, preventive screening measures,” says Dr. Nancy C. Lee, director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. “The Avon Foundation gift will extend the network of services to reach more women in need, those who are hard to reach and those who are rarely or never screened.”

Through the Avon/CDC Foundation Mobile Access Program, four programs will receive funding for mobile mammography vans and operational expenses for two years: San Antonio Metropolitan Health District and Christus Santa Rosa Health Care (San Antonio, TX), Mt. Carmel Regional Cancer Center (Pittsburg, KS), Alpena General Hospital (Alpena, MI), and Goshen Medical Center, Inc. (Faison, NC). In addition, one other program will receive a new van: Glens Falls Hospital (Glens Falls, NY). Three programs will receive funding to support the expansion of services: Bellevue Woman’s Hospital (Niskayuna, NY), Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston, SC), and St. Barnabas Hospital (Bronx, NY). As part of the application, grantees had to demonstrate their ability to successfully sustain the program after the two-year funding cycle to ensure continuity of services in these communities.

The Avon/CDC Foundation Mobile Access Program is coordinated by CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) and the CDC Foundation. NBCCEDP will provide technical assistance to the funding recipients in implementing the mobile screening programs. NBCCEDP has a long history of improving the coordination of breast and cervical cancer screening and follow-up services for underserved women. Through NBCCEDP grantees, screening services are offered in all 50 states, six U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and 15 American Indian and Alaska Native organizations. During the last 12 years, almost 13,000 breast cancers have been detected and almost four million breast and cervical cancer screenings have been provided by NBCCEDP grantees. Historically, 50 percent of NBCCEDP screening services have been provided to minority women.

“This collaborative effort will provide medically underserved women in multi-cultural communities across the country with quality breast cancer screening,” said Kathleen Walas, president, Avon Foundation. “For as long as there is a need, Avon is committed to the fight against breast cancer, and to partnering with organizations and programs to ensure all women receive parity in medical care regardless of economic or social circumstances.”

“The partnership between the CDC Foundation, the Avon Foundation and community grantees will bring an extremely important service to women isolated from mainstream health care,” says Charles Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “The Avon Foundation has shown tremendous vision in its support of this program.”