ACHD Marketing Director
Bringing healthcare services to women in Audrain County who may not have the means to get it themselves was the focus of a special Mobile Mammogram Clinic at the Audrain County Health Department last Friday.
“Our 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment found that approximately 36% of women over the age of 40 in Audrain County do not have routine screening mammograms, primarily because of a financial barrier in access to care,” Audrain County Health Department Administrator Sandra Hewlett said. “In collaboration with the Missouri Baptist Breast Health Center and the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Missouri Chapter, ACHD is now working to help reduce barriers toward breast health.”
The mobile clinic was on site at the ACHD campus on Friday and 35 area women were able to receive a mammogram for free. Those women in the county that have no insurance, have a high insurance deductible, and who are over the age of 40 were eligible for the screening.
“Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer worldwide and it is the leading cause of cancer in women,” ACHD Board Member and Mexico OB/GYN Clark Andelin, M.D. stated. “The American College of OB/GYN recommends that women, starting at the age of 40, begin to have annual mammograms.”
Early detection is key to a woman’s survival from a breast cancer diagnosis.
“About 500,000 women die globally from breast cancer,” Andelin added. “That number can be reduced if it is caught early by women getting their regular screenings each year.”
One of those women receiving their screening on Friday was Mexico resident Betty Jo Sydenstricker. She says it’s important for women to take this seriously and keep up to date with their screenings.
“This was a great experience for me and very quick,” she said.
“Each lady, no matter what her age, needs to get this done. It’s quick and it does not hurt. It’s worth it (even) if it does hurt.”
Hewlett echoed those sentiments by Sydenstricker.
“It can be uncomfortable, and it’s uncomfortable because of the compression we put on the breast between the breast plate and the top compression pad but, the reason for compression is to flatten the breast tissue to provide a clearer the image for the radiologist to read,” she said. “Although there is no significant pain, there is a short period of mild discomfort that is definitely worth ensuring your breast health. One out of eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Mammography saves lives so, don’t hesitate. ACHD offers mammography screening here now, at your convenience and at no cost.”
Both Andelin and Hewlett said it was because of the support of the community that the ACHD is able to offer the program to area residents.
“It’s things proactive health advocacy and our county residents supporting us through the mil tax that we are able to offer programs like this,” Hewlett said. “We’re really glad to have not only the (ACHD) Board of Health support, but the support of the community to be able to offer these types of programs to our residents.”
Andelin echoed those comments.
“We have a really great team here at the health department and really great leadership to bring this resource to our county,” he said.
“We’re very grateful to the citizens for providing the mil tax to help bring these sorts of events here and support numerous public health programs, like this one in our community.”
The next free mammogram clinic will be on January 13, 2017. To schedule your mammogram, call 800-870-5731.
For further information about the breast cancer screening clinic, visit the ACHD web site at www.audraincountyhealth.org or call them at 573-581-1332.