October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; Watch for Pink-Ribbon Reminders
Every fall we look forward to the brilliant reds and oranges of trees putting on their annual autumnal foliage display. But throughout October, pink is all around us, too. It’s the signature color of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and pink ribbons signify breast cancer awareness.
In Berks County, Pennsylvania, that pink ribbon gracefully stretches the entire length of a 40-foot motor coach designed to simplify access to health screenings in the community.
Last month, the Reading Hospital Foundation hosted a ribbon-cutting event for Reading Hospital’s new Mobile Mammography Coach. It makes getting a mammogram easy, quick and convenient – with the same state-of-the-art technology and expert staff found at any of the hospital’s breast imaging centers. Watch this local news report.
Top Sponsors Include EnerSys and East Penn Manufacturing
The coach was funded through donations, pledges, grants and tax credits. Among the leading sponsors were two of Berks County’s major employers, EnerSys and East Penn Manufacturing Company. Both companies are members of Battery Council International (BCI).
David Shaffer, EnerSys president and CEO, and Dan Langdon, a member of East Penn’s board of directors, attended the ribbon-cutting. Shaffer said the mobile unit is a life-saver, given that one in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. It can also occur in men.
“As daunting as that number is, we know that early detection saves lives. This Mobile Mammography Coach will bring mammograms to underserved communities and advance women’s health in our area.” Headquartered in Reading, EnerSys is the global leader in batteries, chargers and accessories for motive, transportation, reserve, aerospace and defense applications worldwide.
Dan Breidegam, Chairman of East Penn, expressed that the company was honored to help make the hospital’s dream a reality.
“Helping to strengthen our communities and provide more access to quality healthcare has always been a top priority for East Penn.” East Penn’s headquarters are in Lyon Station. It is the county’s largest employer and the world’s largest, single-site privately held lead battery manufacturer.
The Challenge: Local Women Not Receiving Regular Mammograms
The American College of Radiology recommends that all women get their first mammogram at the age of 40. Yet a needs assessment by Reading Hospital found that access to care is an ever-present barrier for those in medically underserved communities. In Berks County, the rate of mammography lagged behind that of the state and was more than ten percentage points short of national benchmarks.
Remove Barriers to Healthcare Access; Provide Convenient Early Screening
The purpose of the Mobile Mammography Coach is to increase access to breast screenings and raise patient awareness on the importance of early detection for women across all ages and cultural groups in the region.
Sponsored by the Reading Hospital Foundation, the coach aims to serve more than 4,000 women in its first year, attending over 200 Berks County events and reaching women (and men) at workplaces, churches and community centers.
Outfitted with the latest technology, including 3D tomosynthesis, the Mobile Mammography Coach uses a digital mammography screening tool that improves the accuracy of imaging, reducing unneeded follow-up visits, and enables caregivers to detect more invasive cancers.
The coach has a waiting room that accommodates two patients at a time, and the screening takes just 15 minutes. The unit will bring convenient, accessible, and affordable diagnostic services to women in need across Berks County.
Know the Facts about Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Awareness Month (and Breast Cancer Awareness Day on October 13) is a good time to know current statistics. According to National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., within the United States:
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, except for skin cancers.
- 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
- In 2022, an estimated 287,500 new cases of invasive breast cancer (and 51,400 cases of non- invasive) will be diagnosed in women.
- 65% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at a localized stage (no sign that the cancer has spread outside of the breast), for which the 5-year relative survival rate is 99%.
- This year, an estimated 43,550 women will die from breast cancer.
- In 2022, an estimated 2,710 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and approximately 530 men will die from it.
- There are over 3.8 million breast cancer survivors.
- On average, every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer.
Supporting Our Communities for Good
We thank EnerSys and East Penn for helping to make the Mobile Mammography Coach possible. They exemplify the commitment BCI member companies are making to strengthen their local communities by stepping up where help is needed.