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PHA to Offer No-Cost Mammograms for Underserved Women in Collin County|
ALLEN, Texas — The Breast Center at Presbyterian Hospital of Allen plans to offer free mammograms to uninsured women in Collin County, thanks to funding from the North Texas Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
A recent $26,000 grant from the organization will allow Presbyterian Hospital of Allen (PHA) to provide breast health education and self-examination instruction, computerized breast cancer risk assessments and 100 digital screening mammograms to eligible women during the next year. A part of PHA’s “Better Breast Health” initiative, the program is designed to reach out to women in the community who cannot afford the evaluations, are uninsured or underinsured, and/or are members of historically underserved populations.
“The goal of Presbyterian Hospital of Allen’s Better Breast Health program is to bring breast health education and screening to underserved populations, including the growing African-American and Hispanic populations in Collin County,” said Barbara Quast, R.N., and PHA’s women’s health service line and education director. “Community outreach efforts will be targeted at providing early breast cancer detection and prevention, and breast health education and information.”
According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death among Hispanic women. In addition, low screening participation rates translate into Hispanic women often being diagnosed at a more advanced stage, resulting in higher mortality rates.
Similarly, breast cancer is the most common cancer among African-American women, with an estimated 19,000 new cases diagnosed last year. While breast cancer deaths for white and African-American women were equal during the 1980s, that changed during 2002 and 2003, with African-American women experiencing a 36 percent higher death rate than white women.
“Such factors as lack of insurance, low participation in screenings and barriers related to language in the case of Hispanics often result in these underserved populations not utilizing screening services,” said Quast. “We hope this grant will help us extend our reach further into the community and overcome some of these impediments.”
Women can access PHA’s Breast Center upon referral from a doctor or a group such as the Komen organization, or on their own. Quast also will be contacting community groups, faith-based organizations and businesses in the area to help get the word out.
In addition to no-cost mammograms, program participants each will receive a personal computerized breast cancer risk profile. The assessment determines risk by obtaining answers to a series of questions concerning family history, reproductive history and biopsy history. Participants receive screening guidelines; those at high-risk are given information and referrals for managing their risk.
PHA’s Breast Center is open six days a week, offering appointments on Saturdays for women who aren’t able to visit the center during the week. In addition, a bilingual employee is on staff to assist non-English speaking patients.
The grant is the first for PHA’s Breast Center, which occupies a large comprehensive facility in the hospital's Medical Office Building II and includes a recently opened Women’s Shoppe offering items that relate to women’s health.
“It is crucial to us as health care providers in Collin County to better educate women regarding early detection and treatment, if necessary, of breast cancer,” said PHA President Sheila McKinney. “We are grateful to the North Texas Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure for providing us the opportunity to expand the Better Breast Health education program, as well as provide screening for women who may not have been reached before.”
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