BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – When it comes to cancer, early detection can save lives. But for too many people, it can be too hard to get the screenings they need to catch cancer early.
The Erie County Cancer Services Program has been teaming up with partners like Windsong Radiology to bring cancer screenings into the community and take care of underserved populations.
Windsong Radiology’s Mobile Mammography coach has been on the road for nearly two years now, and in that time, about 3,300 women have boarded the bus to get mammograms with the state-of-the-art 3-D tomosynthesis machine.
“This is exactly what we have at all of our standing facilities,” pointed out Jamie Stasiak, the Windsong Radiology Mobile Mammography program coordinator.
Stasiak says a lot of women can’t or won’t go to the brick-and-mortar facilities, though, and she’s heard just about every excuse in the book.
“They don’t have time. They’re taking care of loved ones. They don’t want to take care of themselves. They find other things to do. They don’t have insurance,” Stasiak listed.
The Erie County Cancer Services program makes it so insurance issues are not a reason to not get screened.
“It is a program funded through the state health department to provide breast, cervical, and colon cancer screening and diagnostic services, if need, be to individuals without health insurance or with health insurance that doesn’t fully cover their services,” explained Michelle Wysocki, the program director for the Erie County Cancer Services program.
Erie County Cancer Services works with other organizations in the community, like Windsong Radiology, to help set up and cover the cost of appointments with providers to make sure no one falls through the cracks.
“We’ve heard about people who have put off getting their services because they weren’t able to afford either the high deductible or didn’t have insurance at all. And it’s really heartbreaking when we find out this is maybe months down the road they could have used our services,” Wysocki said.
“And they’re often very relieved and wish they would have heard about us, which is why we’re out here trying to let people know about us,” she said.
The Erie County Cancer Services program is hosting a community event called Mammograms, Mocktails, and More on September 21 to get the message out about what they do and to provide free cancer screenings.
In the meantime, Windsong Radiology’s Mobile Mammography team will continue to set up shop around the eight counties of Western New York, working with businesses, churches, healthcare providers, and others, to help more women catch cancer early, when it’s easiest to treat.
“Get screened. It can save your life,” Stasiak said. “Tell your sister to get screened. Tell your mom to get screened. Just do it.”
To learn more about the Mobile Mammography program, click here.
To learn more about the Erie County Cancer Services Program, click here.