One in eight women will develop breast cancer. Think about that statistic as you take part in your next book club, meet other moms on the playground or catch up with friends over coffee. How many in your circle could develop breast cancer? How many already have?

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women in the United States. And we know that a mammogram helps detect early signs of breast cancer, making it a vital part of all women’s healthcare routine. For some of us, scheduling an annual breast cancer screening is fairly easy. During an annual visit to our primary care doctor or OB-GYN, we get a script for a mammogram, set up a time, hop in our vehicle and go get it done. But for many women, it’s not that easy. Barriers exist.

Among these barriers is lack of transportation. According to the Mid-Hudson Region Community Health Assessment 2019-2021, access to affordable, reliable transportation, both personal and public, is a top issue affecting Sullivan County. Transportation is a critical connection between people and access to healthcare.

Another barrier comes from the combination of the cost of healthcare and the number of people who are uninsured or underinsured. The same assessment report cited above states that nearly 21% of adults in Sullivan County did not receive medical care due to cost. 

Garnet Health has taken steps to address these barriers in Sullivan County, specific to breast cancer. Leveraging the momentum of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Garnet Health will be offering free mammograms in two locations. Events will take place on November 5 at Garnet Health Medical Center in Middletown and on November 12 at Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills in Harris. These free events include a mammogram, clinical breast exam and breast health education. Events are by appointment only and are open to:

  • women over age 50:
  • women who do NOT have health insurance: and
  • women who have not had a routine mammogram within the last year.


In addition, women who would like to schedule an appointment for a free breast screening in Harris on November 12 but have no transportation will be provided a free ride to and from the appointment. In partnership with the Sullivan County Department of Transportation, and courtesy of Sullivan County Transportation, Sullivan County residents who need it can receive a free ride to and from Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills for their screening. “We are proud to partner with Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills to provide transportation to those who may otherwise not be able to get this potentially lifesaving screening,” said Laura Quigley, Commissioner of Division of Community Resources, Workforce Development Board of Sullivan, Inc. “Please be sure to mention the need for free transportation when making your breast screening appointment for November 12.”

It’s important to be aware that breast cancer can affect anyone, but risk factors may require more regular checks. Some common risk factors for breast cancer include:

  • Being older than age 50
  • Family or personal history of cancer
  • History of abnormal breast biopsies 

Breast cancer, especially when detected early, can be treated successfully. Today, there are more options in terms of technology and medicine than ever before. For example, Garnet Health’s 3D mammography technology can detect breast cancer 40% more accurately and earlier, which is critical to successfully treating breast cancer. In addition, if breast cancer is detected, Garnet Health has a multidisciplinary team ready to work with you to personalize a care plan specifically for your individual needs and medical history.

One in eight is a frightening statistic. But with routine breast exams, regularly scheduled mammograms and proper health education, as well as working to break down barriers to getting our community members to their healthcare appointments, we can make great strides in creating better health outcomes. 

Moira Mencher, MBA
By Moira Mencher, MBA

Moira Mencher is Garnet Health Medical Center’s Manager of Physician Relations & Community Health. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication and Master in Business Administration in Humans Resources and Health Care Management from Iona College. Moira is passionate about helping others through her work with community partners to improve the health of Sullivan and Orange Counties through innovations in education, patient care, research, community and physician engagement. She provides integrated research, planning and leadership in the development of community health initiatives and identifies community health program grant funding opportunities. Moira can be reached at (845) 333-2632 or 

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