“Women need to be made aware of risk factors and see a doctor – they need to take care of themselves too, so they can be there for their families,” noted Marion Smith, RN, Cancer Program Coordinator at Richmond University Medical Center.
Mammograms are still the best way to detect changes and disease, Island experts agree. “Mammograms are important preventative measures for women. The earlier cancer is found, the easier it is to treat,” noted Borough President Oddo. “By providing these screenings, we want to encourage Staten Islanders to focus on their health. Despite studies to contrary, experts on Staten Island are continuing to talk about the importance of mammograms. Women should speak to their doctors to determine whether their risk factors require such screening.”
In addition, resources for women undergoing breast cancer treatment abound on Staten Island. At RUMC, a Patient Navigator program has been in full swing for several years to help usher women through the process from diagnosis through treatment to restored health. Particularly vulnerable, the navigators say, are African American women. “African American women tend to be diagnosed at an advanced stage,” noted Ms. Smith. “Women are afraid, they don’t want to know.”
But knowing is exactly what can save their lives.
The mobile mammograms will be funded by Cancer Services Program of Staten Island, Richmond County Savings Foundation, Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund, and The Greater NYC Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
In addition, a mini-women’s health fair will be on site, including HealthPlus, Richmond University Medical Center, Staten Island University Hospital, information on mastectomy bra fittings and wigs, and the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence.
All insurance plans will be accepted, and co-pays and deductibles will be waived. The mammograms will be free to uninsured women. Anyone who is eligible should call (800) 564-6868 to make an appointment for a screening.