Sutter Health Expands Breast Cancer Services in East Bay

Sutter HealthThe Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center at Sutter Health’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland has received a $4 million gift from an anonymous donor. The donation will be dedicated to improving early breast cancer detection, treatment and patient support services for women in the East Bay, according to a press release from the health system.

This includes placing a high priority on breast cancer screening and treatment of African-American women who are estimated to be 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than Caucasian women according to the most recent statistics.

With this investment, the breast health center will expand access to advanced screening technology and extensive patient navigation support systems across all three Sutter-affiliated hospitals in the East Bay. This includes Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland and Berkeley, Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch, and Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley.

“Women have a 1 in 8 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and Sutter Health is committed to increasing the detection and prevention of the disease and the survival rates for all women in the East Bay,” said Julie Petrini, CEO of Hospitals, Sutter Health Bay Area. “By creating a regional breast cancer program, we are proud to bring the same exceptional mammography screening, treatment and compassionate support services provided at Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center to our three Sutter hospitals. We hope that our efforts will serve as a model for how all hospitals can come together to fight this disease and win.”

To further accelerate the impact of this donation and help even more women, Better Health East Bay, a Sutter Health regional philanthropic foundation, has joined Susan G. Komen and Black Women’s Health Imperative to launch the East Bay Breast Cancer Fund, a community fund managed by Community Health Charities, to raise additional money to advance the goal of improving breast health for all women in the region. This collaboration aims to match the $4 million gift through corporate partnerships and employee workplace giving programs in the East Bay.

“We know breast cancer is a leading cause of death for Black, Asian and Hispanic women, and we are proud to be part of the East Bay Breast Cancer Fund, to ensure all women get screened starting at age 40 and receive high-quality treatment, which will save lives,” said Linda Goler Blount, president and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative. “Together, we can help more women beat breast cancer so they can get back to the most important things in their lives.”

Research has shown that use of digital breast tomosynthesis, also known as 3D mammography, in combination with standard mammography, may improve breast cancer detection rates and reduce unnecessary follow-up services for some patients. Patient navigator programs have also proven highly effective in ensuring women get mammograms on a regular basis and in preventing breast cancer treatment delays or interruptions. Applying the two interventions has been shown to be a powerful combination.

“This generous $4 million gift will serve as an important catalyst to expand our efforts to provide state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and ongoing breast cancer support services for many more women in the East Bay,” said Jim Hickman, CEO of Better Health East Bay, Sutter Health’s regional philanthropic foundation. “Thanks to strong community partnerships and caring, compassionate donors right here in the East Bay, we will save lives which is the most important outcome of all.”