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University Receives Funds for Breast Health Services May 30, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOR INFORMATION CONTACT
Judy Stanton, jstanton@georgiacancer.org
404-584-0527

Rebecca Sylvester, rsylvester@uh.org
706-828-2394

Breast Cancer License Tag Fund Awards $50,000 to University Hospital for Breast Health Education, Awareness and Screening

AUGUSTA, GA – May 30, 2008 -- Breast cancer screening, education, outreach and access for Georgia’s medically indigent will be expanded thanks to $500,000 contributed by Georgians to the Breast Cancer License Tag Fund. The Georgia Cancer Coalition, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH), selected 12 public health organizations across the state as the 2008 awardees. Among those selected is University Health Care Foundation in Augusta, awarded $50,000 for the University Health Care System’s Mobile Mammography Unit.

“We are very excited,” says Pamela Anderson, Cancer Services Program Coordinator at University. “It will enable University Hospital to better serve East Georgia by partnering with Lincoln, Jenkins, Richmond and Wilkes County Health departments, along with the American Cancer Society, to bring comprehensive breast education, screenings and clinical mammograms to at least 1,000 women.”

Mammography services are, for the most part, unavailable or at a long distance from these counties. Therefore, women here experience a lower rate of screening, and when they are found to have breast cancer, it is often diagnosed at a later stage, which results in a higher death rate. The mobile unit makes mammography more convenient, accessible and less time consuming. In addition to traveling to health departments in Lincoln and Richmond Counties, the mobile unit will go to Wills Memorial Hospital and Jenkins County Hospital in Jenkins County. Applicants are expected to provide matching funds or in-kind support equal to or exceeding the grant amount requested.

Since 2003, more than $2 million has been contributed to the fund by Georgians through the purchase of vehicle license plates, statewide promotion and partnerships with Georgia automobile dealers. A total of 35 organizations throughout the state have received awards.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death for women in Georgia. This year alone it is estimated that 6,057 will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 1,014 women will die from it.

“While Georgia has been successful at increasing breast cancer screening rates, not all women – particularly the medically indigent – receive appropriate screening. When identified at an early stage, through mammography and clinical breast exams, breast cancer treatment is more effective and mortality rates improve,” says William Todd, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Georgia Cancer Coalition.

The Coalition administers, reviews, and evaluates the applications, and disburses awards to those selected. The 30 applications received for proposed programs were peer reviewed in a competitive process. Priority is given to programs in areas of greatest need as reflected by a state analysis of cancer data.

The Georgia Cancer Coalition is an independent, not-for-profit organization that unites government agencies, academic institutions, civic groups, corporations, and health care organizations in a concerted effort to strengthen cancer prevention, research, and treatment in Georgia, with the ultimate goal of making Georgia one of the nation’s premier states for cancer care. Its mission is to reduce the number of cancer-related deaths in Georgia.

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