On-site mammograms - even for the uninsured - and free health information will be available Saturday, Sept. 21, in Masten Park at a breast cancer awareness walk and wellness event.
"Concerned about you" is sponsored by Patient Voices Network, a partnership between patients and providers from Jefferson Family Medicine, Jericho Road Community Health Center and the University at Buffalo Department of Family Medicine in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. The Western New York Affiliate of Susan G. Komen is funding it.
Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. for the 1.4- or 2-mile walk through the Fruit Belt. The walk begins at 11 a.m. at the Best Street entrance to Masten Park.
The wellness fair runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Attendees have a chance to win signed Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Bandits merchandise, workout clothes and equipment, tickets to UB and Canisius athletic events and other prizes.
Women with prescriptions from their doctors can make an appointment ahead of time at Western New York Breast Health at 1-855-464-7465. There will also be walk-in slots available that day for women with prescriptions. Services are available for the uninsured.
In hosting the event, Patient Voices is highlighting resources to women who might not otherwise have access to screening, such as Cancer Services Program of Erie County, which provides low-cost or free screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer. Uninsured women can enroll by calling 716-886-9201 or they can begin the enrollment process at the event.
Those who cannot be screened on Sept. 21 will be provided with appointments later this fall.
The event is one of two on-site mammography projects that the Patient Voices Network and its partner sites are hosting. Throughout the fall and winter, the mobile unit also will be at four local health care providers in an effort sponsored by UB Family Medicine, the Western New York Affiliate of Susan G. Komen, the Erie County Medical Center's Lifeline Foundation and Western New York Breast Health.
Until March 2014, the mobile mammography unit will be stationed at:
Now in its second year, the free breast cancer awareness and screening event grew out of a desire in the Patient Voices Network to reach and screen more women in Buffalo.
Dee, who receives medical care at one of the participating practices, notes that it was last year's event that encouraged her to finally be screened.
"My mother died of breast cancer at 46 so I was nervous about getting screened," she says. "I was afraid they would tell me something was wrong. But the patient coordinators talked me into it."
Now Dee encourages other people, including close relatives, to get screened. "I tell them, sometimes it's not something you can see or feel, but if you catch it early enough, you have a better chance of stopping it in its tracks," she says. "I tell them, 'Just don't be afraid. Just get it done.' "
It's a particularly relevant message for African-American women, says UB family medicine professor Laurene Tumiel-Berhalter, Ph.D., noting that, in 2013, an estimated 27,060 new cases of breast cancer and 6,080 deaths are expected among African-American women, according to the American Cancer Society.
She adds that the Patient Voices Network is committed to making sure that both the walk and the event are free in order to ensure the highest possible participation rate.
It seems to be working. "Last fall, nearly 80 women received mammograms, many of them for the first time, while the mobile mammography unit was in the neighborhood," Tumiel-Berhalter says. "Since last year's event, some of our partner sites have reported an increase of 10 percent in numbers of patients getting screened for breast cancer."