October 13, 2020

Centre Volunteers in Medicine (CVIM) has recently assumed the responsibilities of the Centre County Breast Cancer Coalition (CCBCC) and services will continue for free mammograms and other screenings for individuals living and working in Centre County.  Our breast care coalition is a collaboration among agencies, organizations and private citizens in the community helping to overcome barriers to obtain effective and affordable breast care services.

In 1997, the CCBCC was established as an all-volunteer grassroots effort to provide breast care services to Centre County women and men who were uninsured or underinsured.   As of June 30, 2020 over 1,600 vouchers valued at $270,000 had been issued by the CCBCC. The vouchers guaranteed payment by the coalition for diagnostic and/or ultrasound and/or screening mammograms along with the associated review of the films by a radiologist. A few years after the Coalition started, other services additional services were added and included ultrasound core biopsies, stereotactic biopsies, needle localizations and cyst aspirations.

Providing care is costly, however, the coalition was fortunate that many local individuals/groups and medical service providers have made both in-kind and monetary contributions throughout the years. Many have been moved by the cause and the fact that it is an all-volunteer organization and the money stayed in Centre County. In addition to these contributions, much of the monies donated were raised by another group of volunteer women in Centre County.  To show support to their friend, Geri Reeve, four of her golfing friends started the Geri Reeve Open Golf Tournament. Until it was dissolved in 2014, the golf tournament made contributions to the CCBCC. The Coalition would not have been able to fund all the mammograms (and additional services) with the vouchers it issued without the very generous work of this group of women.  

One in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.  About 2,620 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2020.  With the addition of the breast cancer coalition CVIM is poised to even better help our patients get this important aspect of health care.