OKLAHOMA CITY – Mercy will continue to provide free breast health services to uninsured or underinsured Oklahomans through a program called Project Early Detection thanks to a $125,000 grant through Susan G. Komen® Central and Western Oklahoma and a $25,000 grant from Telligen Community Initiative.
Since 2005, Mercy’s Project Early Detection has provided free breast health services, including mammograms, diagnostic procedures, treatment referrals and health education, to more than 2,600 patients and has detected and helped treat breast cancer in more than 40 patients. The program supports medically underserved and/or economically challenged women of any age, race or ethnicity.
Project Early Detection is free to the patient and is funded through grants and the support of community partners, including the Health Alliance for the Uninsured, Latino Community Development Agency, Mary Mahoney Memorial Health Center, Pathology Group, Radiology Consultants, Susan G. Komen® Central and Western Oklahoma, Telligen Community Initiative and free clinics in Oklahoma.
All services are available at Mercy, which provides seamless care for patients for the detection and/or treatment of cancer. Patients can be referred to the Mercy Breast Center through private physicians, health departments and free clinics.
"We believe that the success of Project Early Detection is directly tied to the quality of Mercy Hospital’s breast health and cancer services and our collaborative community partners,” said Kay Oliver, executive director of the Mercy Health Foundation of Oklahoma. “There is no better way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the program than to recognize that the program is making a difference in the lives of so many Oklahomans.”
Since 1947, Mercy Health Foundation of Oklahoma has helped meet the health care needs of residents in Oklahoma by securing financial support for projects and community services, like Project Early Detection.
“We are honored that Susan G. Komen® Central and Western Oklahoma and Telligen Community Initiative both share our mission and have chosen to support our program with their generous awards,” said Glenda Bronson, program coordinator for the Project Early Detection Program at Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City. “These grants ensure that we can provide greater access to breast health care for the underserved and underinsured women in our community. We hope this program also increases the awareness around the importance of annual mammograms for women who are over age 39 or have certain risk factors. Early detection saves lives.”
Prior to funding the project, leaders at Susan G. Komen® Central and Western Oklahoma conducted an assessment of their 47-county service area to determine the greatest needs related to breast health.
“We are confident that by funding Project Early Detection, more women and men will benefit from essential breast health services, like screening, diagnostics and innovative complementary therapies,” said Lorna Palmer, executive director of Susan G. Komen® Central and Western Oklahoma. “We are excited to continue working with Mercy Hospital OKC to improve breast health for all Oklahomans.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the United States. If a woman detects breast cancer while it is half an inch or smaller, her chance of survival is more than 90 percent, said Dr. Alan Hollingsworth, medical director of the Mercy Breast Center in Oklahoma City. A tumor that small cannot be felt, which is why mammograms are essential for early detection, he said.
“Project Early Detection has been working hard for Oklahoma’s most vulnerable women for a decade,” said Matt McGarvey, executive director at Telligen Community Initiative. “We are pleased to support their efforts to provide accessible care to all women in the fight against breast cancer.”
For more information about Mercy’s Project Early Detection, call (405) 936-5226.