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Pink Saturdays Program Saves Lives

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the Pink Saturdays program is back to help uninsured area women get a free mammogram and maybe save a life.

In our Mix 104.9 WBXX listening area, uninsured women between 40-64 years old can get free mammograms at Oaklawn Hospital in Marshall and Bronson Hospital in Battle Creek


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Pink Saturdays Info You Need To Know

WHO: Women between the ages of 40-64 who are uninsured and meet specific income guidelines.

WHAT: Free mammograms.

WHEN: On selected days in October during breast cancer awareness month.

WHERE: Eight Southwest Michigan counties: Allegan, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren. Nearly every hospital in Southwest Michigan participates. This year, we are providing 1,000 free mammograms. In 2013, we provided 1,555.

HOW: Call 1-800-873-0649 to schedule a free mammogram at a facility closest to you. You can also visit our web site at or follow us on Facebook for more information.

WHY: The importance of early detection and treatment of breast cancer was a driving force behind the creation of Pink Saturdays. Women diagnosed at an early stage have a much higher cure rate. Second, a low percentage of eligible women in Southwest Michigan receive annual mammograms. Nationally, an estimated 55% of insured women get annual screening mammograms compared to only 17% of uninsured women. And, in Southwest Michigan, the screening rate is much lower in some counties.

In Michigan, it’s estimated that 15% of the female population is uninsured. That translates into more than 25,000 women in Southwest Michigan who are uninsured and eligible for a free screening mammogram.

2014 Initiative: Increase the number of uninsured African American and Hispanic women receiving a mammogram. 1 in 5 African Americans and 1 in 3 Hispanics/Latinos are uninsured, while only 1 in 10 non-Hispanic whites lack health insurance. Also, while African American women are less likely than Caucasian women to get breast cancer, they have a 35 percent higher death rate from the disease. Once again, this year, we’re partnering with the Hispanic American Council of Kalamazoo as well as local churches to reach minority populations.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS TO DATE: To date, we’ve provided approximately 9,305 free mammograms. 41 women have been diagnosed with cancer after being screened in the Pink Saturdays program. Their follow-up care and treatment was funded by two government programs–the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP) and Medicaid.

Overall, the total number of screening mammograms administered in Southwest Michigan has risen. Pink Saturdays can be credited for moving the needle and increasing mammography screening in Southwest Michigan. During the same time period, overall mammography rates in the U.S. have declined because of new guidelines issued by a federal commission.

THANK YOU: We are teaming together for a healthier community with all the nearly every hospital and radiology group in Southwest Michigan as well as West Michigan Cancer Center. This program would not be possible without the generosity of these healthcare organizations and radiologists. The program is made possible through a community grant from the Southwest Michigan Affiliate of Susan G. Komen.

WHY DON’T WOMEN GET A MAMMOGRAM? There are several reasons for this. Fear. Discomfort. No time. But we believe that the key reason these women are not being screened for breast cancer is a lack of insurance.

Another reason some women fail to schedule mammogram is the worry that they will, in fact, be diagnosed with breast cancer. For those eligible women, there are resources available to follow up and treat their breast cancer.


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