State Health Department Announces $500,000 in Funding to Expand Healthy Women Partnerships' Mobile Mammography Initiative

Request for Proposal Will Bring Total Number of State Funded Vans in NYS to Six

Albany, February 6, 2002 – Building on Governor Pataki's support for mobile mammography vans in New York State, State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H., today announced $500,000 in State funding that will go to hospital-based facilities for two additional mobile mammography vans that will screen uninsured women aged 40 or older in areas that are not currently served by a mobile van, have low mammography capacity or provide services to neighboring counties which have low capacity levels. The Department will solicit proposals soon to begin the selection process.

Under Governor Pataki's leadership, four mobile mammography vans are currently funded by the State, providing tens of thousands of women critical breast and cervical cancer screenings that will help with early detection of cancers, when they can be more successfully treated.

"Prior to Governor Pataki being elected, New York State was not funding any mobile mammography vans. Thanks to Governor Pataki leadership and support, once the facilities are chosen to run these new vans, New York will have six vans traveling around providing critical services to help women with early detection of breast cancers which is so crucial if we are to successfully reduce the burden of cancer in New York," State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H. said. "The Governor's aggressive steps will enable underserved women in New York to reduce their risk of breast cancer and ensure that breast cancer is detected early when treatment is more than 95 percent effective."

Hospitals in the following counties will be eligible to apply for the funding for the two mobile mammography units: Albany, Allegany, Bronx, Broome, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Clinton, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Erie, Franklin, Genesee, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Kings, Lewis, Livingston, Madison, Manhattan, Monroe, Nassau, Niagara, Oneida, Ontario, Orange, Orleans, Queens, Rensselaer, Richmond, Rockland, Schenectady, Schoharie, Seneca, Steuben, St. Lawrence, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Westchester, Wyoming and Yates.

In addition to the two new mobile mammography units, the State Health Department will also provide $62,500 in funding to each of four hospitals - Bellevue Women's Hospital of Schenectady, Bassett Healthcare of Cooperstown, Catholic Medical Center of Queens and Nassau University Medical Center - to help them continue mobile screenings for another year, bringing the total number of Department-supported units to six. The portable units are housed in vans and taken to churches, grange halls and other community sites.

Breast cancer is a serious health issue in New York, accounting for more than 12,000 new cases and 3,500 deaths annually. After remaining relatively constant for the past 25 years, mortality from the disease has declined recently, probably attributable to the increased proportion of cases detected in the early stages, when it can be most successfully treated. Unfortunately, some women still do not undergo mammography or have regular clinical breast examinations, which together offer the best chance of early detection. A disproportionate number of breast cancer deaths occur among low-income women and minorities who, even when they understand the benefits of early detection, may not have access to screening services.

Healthy Women Partnerships were formed to increase the statewide proportion of underserved and uninsured women, particularly women age 50 and over, who participate in routine screening for breast and cervical cancer. Since 1997, more women throughout the State have had access to routine breast cancer screening due to mobile mammography units funded under Governor Pataki's Health Care Reform Act. The goal is to enhance both the geographic availability and the cultural acceptability of services, reaching isolated women unable or unwilling to use fixed site services. More than 15,000 women in rural areas, inner cities and on Long Island benefit from these mobile services. For more information about how to enroll in the program in their county, women can call 1-800-4CANCER.

2/6/02–15 OPA