CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - For three years, WBTV has been a host site for Charlotte Radiology and Levine Cancer Institute’s Project Pink.
Project Pink provides free mammograms to uninsured and under-insured women across the Carolinas.
“Most of these women, because of limited resources, might not have ever come in and would have found out about the cancer much later when treatment options weren’t as plentiful,” Charlotte Radiology Project Specialist Shawna Plate said.
They estimate mammograms cost roughly $150 out of pocket. Due to the cost, many women without insurance coverage go without it.
“For many women in our community, that $150 could be used for groceries or keeping the lights on. So we provide this service to ensure women have the best potential for a positive outcome,” Director of Disparities Outreach for Levine Cancer Institute Mellisa Wheeler said.
From community donations, Project Pink uses a bus to travel to different locations so that women do not have to find a ride to the doctor. The mammograms are completed inside the bus.
For qualifying women, the mammograms are free to the patient. If abnormalities are detected, Project Pink will also fund the patient’s follow-up biopsy.
“It’s there so a woman doesn’t have to worry about you know going from screening to diagnosis and she’s got it along the way.”
Patrice Bidgood, 35, gave herself a breast exam at home, and felt a lump. Two week after her mother, Lisa Bidgood, lost her fight with breast cancer, Patrice decided it was time to get serious about her health.
Project Pink helped her get a mammogram after she felt a lump in her breast.
“After the mammogram and biopsy, it came back that I was early stage one breast cancer,” Bidgood said. “I had just lost my mom to the same thing, so I knew I had to fight for both me and her.”
After a year of radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Bidgood is cancer free.
She says if it were not for the early detection of her cancer, she may not be where she is today.
“Early detection is the best detection,” Bidgood said.
Health officials advise women to get a mammogram yearly starting at age 40. The screenings can detect a lump two years before you feel it.
If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, you are often encouraged to get a mammogram at an earlier age. Still, 80 percent of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer do NOT have a history of the cancer in their family, according to Charlotte Radiology.
Each year Project Pink pays for roughly 1,000 women to get a mammogram. Last year, mammograms completed through Project Pink detected 23 cancers.
If you would like to donate to Project Pink click here: www.givecarolinas.org/projectpink