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Safeway Foundation Awards $25k to Breast Cancer Program for the Underserved

Mills-Peninsula Women’s Center has been awarded $25,000 by the Safeway Foundation to extend breast cancer care services to medically underserved women in San Mateo County. This is the seventh grant that Safeway has made to Mills-Peninsula’s Women’s Health Center, for a total of $140,000 since 2008.

The Mills-Peninsula Breast Cancer Program for Underserved Women fills the urgent need in San Mateo County for high-quality breast cancer screening and diagnostic services for women who would otherwise not have access to resources that can ensure that their cancer is detected and treated as early as possible. 

“Safeway and the Safeway Foundation’s annual Breast Cancer fundraising and awareness campaign allows us to fund organizations like Mills-Peninsula to further local research, treatment and access to preventive services in the neighborhoods where our customers and employees live,” said Wendy Gutshall, manager of Public and Government Affairs for Safeway Inc. in Northern California.

“We deeply appreciate this generous gift from the Safeway Foundation. It will help us to continue a program that is helping medically underserved women in our community who rely on the Mills-Peninsula Breast Cancer Program for their care,” said John Loder, president of Mills-Peninsula Hospital Foundation.

Mills-Peninsula’s Breast Cancer Program for Underserved Women provides:

  • Care from experts in oncology and radiology
  • Free screening and diagnostic testing, including laboratory, radiology, ultrasound and stereotactic biopsies using the most advanced technologies available
  • Saturday Breast Cancer Program offering free screenings for women who cannot leave work or family during the week
  • Individualized treatment plans and referrals for new breast cancer diagnoses
  • Community education in partnership with local community-based organizations to inform women of breast cancer risk factors and the many resources available at the Women’s Center 

 Breast Cancer in San Mateo County

One in every eight women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime.  While technological advances in the detection of breast cancer have greatly improved patient outcomes, many low-income women do not have access to high-quality screening and diagnostic services that can effectively detect and diagnose their cancer so it can be treated before it spreads.  Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that women living below the poverty line were significantly less likely than higher-income patients to have annual mammograms, which public health experts cite as a primary reason why low-income women experience lower five-year survival rates than their wealthier peers. 

Breast cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer among women in San Mateo County, yet increasing numbers of low-income women are at-risk of having their cancer go undetected until it is too late to be treated successfully.

Last year, funding from generous supporters in the community enabled the program to provide 341 low-income women with screening and diagnostic services.  Of these patients, 26 received ultrasound or stereotactic biopsies after an initial screening revealed a potentially cancerous growth.  Mills-Peninsula surgeons also conducted 11 procedures to remove tumors, of which six were malignant and potentially life-threatening.  Women who were served through the program received personalized treatment plans when needed and were referred to partner agencies for follow-up care and monitoring.

About Mills-Peninsula Women’s Center and Breast Health Program

Located in the city of San Mateo, the Mills-Peninsula Women’s Center is one of the region’s foremost providers of comprehensive health care for women, seeing more than 27,000 patients annually.  Since opening in 1994, the Women’s Center has become a leader in the detection and treatment of breast cancer with an expert staff specially trained in mammography and ultrasound who are equipped with some of the best available technology, including the area’s first all-digital mammography. 

Mills-Peninsula is part of the Sutter Health network.

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