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Mobile Mammogram Coach Exams Exceed Expectations
ECMC Foundation, Sabres and First Niagara bring crucial exams to women

More than 1,400 Western New York women, most of whom probably would not have otherwise received breast cancer screenings, had mammograms in the first year of the Mobile Mammography Coach’s effort to save lives.

Sponsored by Erie County Medical Center, First Niagara Financial Corp. and the Buffalo Sabres Alumni, the coach deployed two digital mammography units to underserved and under-tested women across Western New York and was dedicated one year ago today.

The service, staffed and operated out of the practice of Vivian L. Lindfield, M.D., in Amherst, completed an average of 13.48 mammograms per day over 105 days. Out of 1,410 exams, 110 women were flagged for more specific secondary exams, and overall, the tests found two positive results.

“This project was always about making a real impact on the lives of women and their families through early detection. We could not be more pleased by the number of women screened and, more importantly, who received care,” said ECMC CEO Jody L. Lomeo. “This a great example of the power of collaboration in our community and I thank the Buffalo Sabres Alumni, First Niagara, and the board of the ECMC Lifeline Foundation for believing in something greater for the prevention of breast cancer in our community. ”

With a combined $750,000 contribution from First Niagara and the Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association, ECMC managed the Mobile Mammography Coach. The Erie County Medical Center Lifeline Foundation, which contributed to its operation, owns the mobile mammography coach.

“First Niagara is committed to collaborating with our community partners to make a difference in Western New York,” said Elizabeth Gurney, executive director of the First Niagara Foundation. “Our contribution to fund the Mobile Mammography Coach is helping to save lives and enhance access to cancer care for the underserved. This successful partnership with ECMC and the Sabres Alumni enables First Niagara to help women in our community who might never be screened.”

Western New York had the highest rate of new breast cancer in Upstate New York, according to a 2010 report. In addition, Upstate New York had a higher breast cancer death rate per 100,000 women in 2011 at 24.5 per year, than nationally, 24; statewide, 23.7; or in New York City, 23.9, according to Susan G. Komen For the Cure.

Another partner in the effort is the Buffalo/ Niagara Witness Project, which assisted in identifying women in the community in need of screening. The project educates participants on early cancer detection through stories told by breast and cervical cancer survivors in churches and community settings.

All women are welcome to have their annual “screening” mammograms on the mobile mammography coach. Any insurance is accepted and help is offered to find coverage eligibility. New York State requires a prescription for a screening mammogram; should a patient need a health-care provider, assistance will be given to help obtain one.

The mobile mammography coach has visited inner-city churches, community centers, health-care facilities, and public events. It has partnerships and has collaborated with local physician groups to be part of a system of care in patient-centered medical homes.

“We are very proud of the breast cancer prevention and education bus and the work that has been accomplished in the past year,” said Cliff Benson, chief development officer of the Buffalo Sabres and president of the Buffalo Sabres Foundation. “This was a significant, challenging project, but the rewards of better health care for this region’s women are absolutely worth it. We hope to continue making a difference with the bus in our community for years to come.”

There are only a few dozen such buses in use in various regions of the country. One of the first started in 2004 in Western Washington. That program added another in 2008 to keep up with demand.

“The mobile mammography initiative coincides with my mission as a physician specializing in breast health to provide quality care and promote lifelong breast health to all women,” said Dr. Lindfield. “It is an opportunity to reach out to women who for a multitude of reasons would not have the benefit of this service.”

The bus also furthers ECMC’s commitment to the inner-city neighborhoods around its Health Campus. Although the breast cancer incidence rate is 17 percent lower in African-American women than in white women, the mortality rate among black women is 32 percent higher.

Moreover, the survival rate for breast cancer in African American women is 75 percent, compared with 89 percent among white women. Mammography screening reduces breast cancer mortality by 35 percent to 50 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

Although 70 percent of white and African American women 40 years and older received mammograms in the last two years, only 54 percent of African American women nationwide reported having a mammogram within the past year in accordance with American Cancer Society guidelines.

For more information on the Mobile Mammography Coach, call 1-855-GO-4PINK or 855-464-7465 or see www.ecmc.edu/mammography/schedule.asp

MORE ABOUT ECMC:
The ECMC Corporation includes an advanced academic medical center (ECMC) with 550 inpatient beds and 136 skilled-nursing-home beds, on- and off-campus health centers, more than 30 outpatient specialty care services and a long-term care facility. ECMC is the regional center for trauma, burn care, transplantation and rehabilitation and is a major teaching facility for the University at Buffalo. Most ECMC physicians, dentists and pharmacists are dedicated faculty members of the university and/or members of a private practice plan. More Western New York residents are choosing ECMC for exceptional patient care and customer service—the difference between healthcare and true careTM.


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