Winners get free mammograms!

November 2, 2009
James Brice

Volume 31, Issue 11

For some, it's sweet charity. For others, it reflects the sad state of U.S. healthcare and the general economy, but for 37 women in rural Northern California, it was an opportunity to be screened for breast cancer.

For some, it's sweet charity. For others, it reflects the sad state of U.S. healthcare and the general economy, but for 37 women in rural Northern California, it was an opportunity to be screened for breast cancer. They were the lucky winners of free screening mammograms raffled off to mark National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The 5th annual drawing, on Oct. 29, was sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the Humboldt Community Breast Health Project, and seven area hospitals and radiology centers.

Mammograms were donated by the Mad River Community Hospital and North Bay Radiology in Arcata, St. Joseph Hospital and Humboldt Radiology Group in Eureka, Redwood Memorial Hospital and Sonoma Imaging in Fortuna, and Jerold Phelps Community Hospital in Gar-berville, all in California. Area radiologists donated reading services.

Limited to women at least 40 years of age, the raffle attracted 730 women in 2008, said Rose Gale-Zoeellick, executive director of the Humboldt Community Health Project in Arcata. Participation was free.

Each winner received a certificate for the mammography facility of her choice, as well as a gift bag. Insured winners were given the right to give their certificates to a friend or relative.

All participants received information from the community health project and cancer society advising about “Every Woman Counts” and “Family Planning Access, Care and Treatment,” two state programs that cover screening mammography for women over age 40.

The health project followed up directly with Spanish-speaking and Native American women to determine their health status, including the presence of palpable breast masses, and to refer them to health services for evaluation, Gale-Zoellick said.