For a decade, The Foundation for Marshall Medical Centers has raised money through its Pink Pumpkin Run to fund mammograms for women who cannot afford them. This year, the pandemic has forced the run to go virtual but it is still contributing to the fight against breast cancer.
In 2020, in addition to almost 200 free screenings, Pink Pumpkin proceeds paid for a new, high-tech tool to support early detection. The Foundation used earnings from the 2019 race to purchase a Trident Breast Imaging System for Marshall Medical’s mammography departments at North and South.
The Trident System is a specimen imaging device that allows the mammography staff and physician to image the specimen removed during a stereotactic procedure at the time of the procedure, explained Wade Wright, executive director of Clinical Services for Marshall Medical. This is done to ensure they have obtained the tissue from the area of concern. It can also be used to image a post breast lumpectomy, which reduces the need to utilize the mammography machine and prevents surgery delay.
“Previously we had one system that was shared between campuses,” Wright said. “Thanks to this generous donation from the Foundation, this will ensure we will have the device we need when we need it at both locations.”
Since the beginning of the Pink Pumpkin Run in 2010, proceeds have funded mammogram screenings at no cost to individuals with financial need. Over the past year, 177 mammograms were provided through the Mammography Assistance Program or MAP. That number was down this year by about 100 scans, which could be due to the time the hospitals were shut down by COVID-19.
“With many women underemployed and/or uninsured, the need for breast cancer detection screenings exceeds allotted state funding,” said Andrea Oliver, director of The Foundation for Marshall Medical Centers. “Through the funds provided from MAP, women who cannot afford a yearly mammogram have access to the annual screening which is critical for early detection.”
The Mammography Assistance Program (MAP) provides free mammogram screenings for patients of any age who do not meet the qualifications for the Alabama Breast and Cervical Cancer Program or any other assistance programs. Often the concern over the loss of income because of time away from work or the lack of transportation or gas money prevents women from having this potentially life-saving test performed on an annual basis.
“Through MAP we have the ability to overcome these obstacles for many women,” Oliver said.