It’s difficult to imagine the fear a woman feels when she first begins to wonder if the lump she has discovered on her breast might be cause for concern. For the underinsured or those without insurance, that fear is exponentially compounded by worry about whether a mammogram and any needed treatment are within reach.
Planting Seeds for Early Cancer Detection: Community Health Impact Council Breast Cancer Prevention
In 2010, Elise MacCarroll-Wright, Director of Outpatient Imaging for AdventHealth, came upon a startling statistic: of the 489 referrals for mammography written in an Apopka healthcare center serving lower income populations, only 16 percent were actually carried out. “84 percent of these women did not have their exams,” MacCarroll-Wright says. “Whether due to lack of money, insurance, access to care, or education, the reality was that many, many women were missing their chance at early detection.”
We have been delivering digital mobile mammograms as well as educational resources such as breast self-exam seminars and reading material in lower income areas.
To address the issue, the CHIC Breast Cancer Prevention initiative was launched in October 2011 with an aim to increase early detection and educate women in Apopka on the importance of annual mammograms. Through mobile screening events across Apopka, all of which were tremendously well attended, the community outreach team was able to deliver digital mobile mammograms as well as educational resources such as breast self-exam seminars and reading material.
One year and 228 screenings later, the program is responsible for detecting breast cancer in 20 women and then subsequently helping those women navigate through the care continuum. “We’ve been meeting women who haven’t had a mammogram in a long time or maybe never,” says Monica Lowry, Community Outreach Coordinator. “We are making a difference in Apopka, but it’s never-ending; there is still so much need.”