Bonnie’s Bus launches in Blacksville 

Digital mammography screening to be offered throughout state

BLACKSVILLE, W.Va. – The Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center at West Virginia University sent Bonnie’s Bus on its first mission today (April 15), offering digital mammography screening to women in rural West Virginia.

Blacksville, in western Monongalia County, where the bus held “office hours” from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., is just the first stop.

The 40-foot bus will travel throughout the state, bringing digital mammography to women who live in counties where breast cancer mortality rates are high while access to radiology services may be limited.

If mammograms show need for follow-up care, women will be referred to doctors in their home communities for treatment. Women may also be eligible for drugs available through clinical trials at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center or elsewhere in the state. The newly established statewide Clinical Trials Network enables doctors to enroll patients in clinical trials taking place throughout the network – trials in which promising but experimental cancer therapies are offered to patients who qualify.

Bonnie’s Bus represents a partnership with women’s groups, clinicians, public health professionals, community leaders and other organizations statewide to reach women who may need life-saving early detection of breast cancer. WVU Hospitals owns and operates the bus, which is underwritten by a $2.5 million gift from Jo and Ben Statler.

Bonnie’s Bus – named after Mrs. Statler's late mother, Bonnie Wells Wilson – and the Cancer Center also received $300,000 from Susan G. Komen for the Cure to support outreach to women and follow-up tracking studies and a two-year $400,000 grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation to establish the clinical trials network.

Bonnie's Bus is designed to be a research tool that will result in a vast database, as well as a vehicle to help reduce deaths from breast cancer in West Virginia.
The mammograms are not free. But billing to third-parties will be provided, and women who lack insurance will be matched to government or nonprofit charities.
In the coming months, Bonnie’s Bus will visit Taylor and Gilmer counties, and in October the bus will travel to Wirt, Pleasants and Ritchie counties. Other stops are expected to be added.

Partners with the Cancer Center helping to launch Bonnie’s Bus include:

  •  American Cancer Society
  •  Appalachia Community Cancer Network
  •  Mid-Atlantic Cancer Information Service
  •  Mountains of Hope Coalition
  •  West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program

 WVU Center of Excellence in Women’s Health

For information on clinical trials at the Cancer Center see http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/mbrcc/ctru/.

For comparisons of breast cancer rates in West Virginia by county see http://statecancerprofiles.cancer.gov/.



For more information:
Andrea Brunais, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
AB: 4-9-09

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