MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Bonnie’s Bus, a mobile mammography unit that operates in partnership with WVU Medicine and the WVU Cancer Institute, is preparing for its 2020 season.
The bus operates from mid-March to mid-December, traveling to provide mammograms to patients from all 55 counties in West Virginia who may not have access to breast cancer screening in their community.
Officials said Bonnie’s Bus has suspended visits indefinitely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2019, Bonnie’s Bus visited 41 counties, providing a record-breaking 2,824 screening mammograms.
Screenings provided by Bonnie’s Bus detected more than 20 cases of cancer in 2019 with follow-up results on other cases still pending.
“We are excited to start our 12th year on the road,” Amy Allen, WVU Cancer Institute assistant director of cancer prevention and control, said.
“We were able to serve a record number of people in 2019 and we hope to continue that trend this year.”
Since 2009, Bonnie’s Bus has provided more than 21,500 mammograms for women throughout West Virginia that led to the detection of more than 110 cases of breast cancer.
Many patients who receive screening mammograms on Bonnie’s Bus are under- or uninsured and qualify for enrollment in the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program.
If patients are uninsured and do not qualify for the program, their screening may be covered through grant funds and donations.
No West Virginian woman age 40 or older is ever turned away from a screening mammogram due to an inability to pay.
“We hope to continue to make a significant impact in the health of West Virginians,” said Jenny Ostien, WVU Cancer Institute director of mobile screening.
“Early detection is the best way to improve outcomes for patients with cancer. We want to continue to help reach individuals who may not be able to make it to a medical center to receive screening so they can receive timely treatment if needed.”
Bonnie’s Bus works in collaboration with a statewide partnership of clinicians, public health professionals, women’s groups and other community leaders working to help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer in West Virginia.
The program was made possible by a gift from West Virginia natives Jo and Ben Statler to the WVU Cancer Institute in honor of Jo Statler’s late mother, Bonnie Wells Wilson.