The campaign was to begin Wednesday with an Inaugural Tribute Dinner at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City. The free brain scans will be offered using a new state-of-the-art mobile MRI unit that eventually will be taken nationwide.
Organizers say people have grown accustomed to routinely checking for breast, colon, prostate and other cancers -- now the time has come to test for brain tumors.
"Regrettably, when brain tumors become symptomatic, most are incurable, said Dr. Patrick Kelly, founder and president of the Brain Tumor Foundation. "I am firmly convinced that early detection is the best insurance that treatment will be effective and that more lives will be saved."
During the 2004 and 2005 Brain Tumor Awareness Day conventions, 93 people signed up for a brain scan. Six were diagnosed with brain tumors and 18 others were diagnosed with other brain abnormalities.
Those results, said the foundation, corroborate recent studies projecting nearly 1 million people in the United States are walking around with a brain tumor and don't know it.