Cook County Hospitals Receive $100K Grant To Expand Breast Cancer Screening And Treatment

Lisa Fielding
July 12, 2018 - 2:09 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Cook County Hospitals see 10,000 cancer patients a year, but many come for care in late stages of the disease.

"There's lots of reasons for this, but the biggest reason are issues of access. If you have health insurance, but you can't get to a doctor or you don't know where to go, or you have no transportation or if there's nobody to watch your kids or you're working two jobs, none of which gives you sick days, you really don't have access even if you have insurance," said Dr. Elizabeth Marcus.

"Turns out if you lower those barriers, people come in for care and they get better outcomes."

Thanks to the Chicago Bears and the American Cancer Society, a $100,000 grant will allow Cook County Hospitals to expand access to mammography and access to breast cancer care.

"This $100,000 grant payable over two years, will go to Cook County Hospital & Health System to support access to breast cancer screening, follow up on abnormal mammograms and timely access to speciality care to underserved women," said Marge Hamm, Director, Bears Cares.

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"Women who have barriers to care, women who live in poverty and experience other challenges are more likely to die of breast cancer, often times, when they are less likely to be diagnosed with the disease," said Durado Brooks, M.D., M.P.H., American Cancer Society, Vice President Prevention & Early Detection.

Over the years, the NFL's Crucial Catch program has raised $18 million for the American Cancer Society.

"These grants have provided a lot of services. Specifically to breast cancer and women's health, more than half a million women have been served through the funds provided by these grants. More than 100,000 mammograms have been provided and there is a lasting impact," Brooks said. "Screening rates have increased by 17 percent over the past five and a half year period."

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"We're going to be able to reach more people in our large, primary care site here as well as expanding this out to our site at Oak Forest, hoping the people in the Far South Side which is a place that is desperately in need of help of getting early detection," Marcus said.

Two-hundred-sixty-eight-thousand women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the United States. Forty-one-thousand died each year.

Dr. Marcus said this grant will allow for continued progress to be made in reducing those mortality rates.

"This represents the next step that insuring that everybody, no matter who they are, what insurance they have, whether they live all have access to incredibly high quality care in a timely fashion," she said.