The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Buffalo Bills, through the NFL Crucial Catch Program, has awarded a grant to ECMC to address disparities in breast cancer mortality by providing access to breast cancer screening, follow-up of abnormal mammograms, and timely access to specialty care if needed. The grant funding was made possible through ACS’s partnership with the NFL and the league’s Crucial Catch campaign.
The grant to ECMC is part of ACS’s Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) program, which provides funding opportunities as part of the ACS’s commitment to reduce disparities in cancer mortality. ECMC will receive $100,000 over two years. CHANGE grants are focused primarily on African-American communities, but also target other underserved populations.
Breast cancer mortality has steadily declined over the last four decades, largely due to improvements in early detection and treatment. However, not all women have benefited equally from this progress. A faster drop among white women has widened the mortality gap between white and black women. Despite similar rates of disease and screening rates, breast cancer death rates in 2015 were 39 percent higher for black women than white women in the nation as a whole and up to 60 percent higher in some states. Access to timely follow-up and high-quality treatment are key drivers of these disparities, especially in underserved communities. Differences in stage of cancer diagnosis, tumor characteristics, obesity and other comorbidities are also contributing factors.
“We’re so proud to partner with ECMC because it is an innovative community health center providing comprehensive, patient-centered care to Western New York,” said Jason Coleman, senior manager, Primary Care Systems, American Cancer Society. “The American Cancer Society is committed to addressing the unequal burden for cancer and addressing health disparity with regard to cancer in our safety net patient populations.”
“The Buffalo Bills are grateful to the American Cancer Society and the NFL Crucial Catch program for providing these resources for Western New York,” Buffalo Bills Vice President of Community Relations Gretchen Geitter said. “We are committed to bettering our community and appreciate that this grant will support vital cancer-detecting resources and care for those that would not have access otherwise.”
“ECMC is very thankful to the American Cancer Society and the Buffalo Bills for this very important grant,” said Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., PhD, President and CEO, ECMC Corporation. “Since 2012, ECMC’s Mobile Mammography Unit has provided breast cancer screening to over 18,000 women in our region, particularly those that do not have adequate access to healthcare services. ECMC, like ACS and the Buffalo Bills, is committed to providing even greater access to women that need such potentially lifesaving services and this very generous grant will enhance further our ability to help women throughout Western New York.”
The American Cancer Society is committed to saving lives and addressing the unequal burden for cancer.
Since 2009, the NFL’s Crucial Catch has raised more than $18 million in support of ACS. Funding raised since 2012 has supported ACS’s CHANGE program and has been invested in underserved communities to increase cancer education and awareness and promote life-saving screening tests. To date, health system grantees have reached more than 632,000 individuals with education, patient reminders and navigation to screening, and contributed to 138,000 breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings. These new grants will improve timely access to follow up care along with a continued focus on access to high-quality breast cancer screening for underserved women.