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Free breast health services for uninsured

Beginning June 1, local women without access to medical services will be provided with free breast health education and mammograms made possible with a $19,320 grant awarded by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.Incline Village Community Hospital Foundation a service of the Tahoe Forest Hospital System is partnering with the Family Resource Centers in Kings Beach and Truckee to use the grant to offer free education and mammograms to medically underserved women in the community.That includes women who are at least 18 years old who dont have access to medical information or health services. The Komen Foundation helps fund breast cancer awareness, screening and treatment projects to more than 18,000 communities in the United States. For many women, the subsidized program will be the first time they receive breast health services.Everyones life is equally important and if we have the opportunity to help even a handful of women, then its worth it, said Director Raine Howe of the Incline Village Community Hospital Foundation.The Family Resource Centers are recognized as a go-to source for information in the community, which is why the partnership is a natural fit, said Executive Director Adela Gonzlez del Valle of the Truckee Family Resource Center. The centers promote bicultural understanding in the community by providing health, education, food and legal services, though the nonprofit agency helps more than just the Latino population in the area, Gonzlez del Valle said.In 2005 and 2006, the centers peer counselors assisted about 550 women, and the center hopes to see just as many underserved women walk through its doors this year. An oncologist at Tahoe Forest Hospital will train Family Resource Center staff how to educate women about breast health, Howe said. Several bilingual center employees are on hand to ensure women receive the services they need. A portion of the grant funding will pay for breast self-exam pamphlets written in both English and Spanish. Tahoe Forest Hospital and Incline Village Community Hospital will each offer free mammograms for eligible women, with transportation to the appointment if needed provided by the Family Resource Center. Howe said a mammogram costs about $187 including health insurance reimbursements, using Medi-Cal as an example. The hospital seeks to address the needs of all area residents, Howe said. However, particularly among the Latino population, a misconception persists that a high birth rate results in a decreased risk of developing breast cancer, Howe said. While the risk is lower compared to other ethnic populations, the cancer risk is still significant and women should be screened regularly. By the time (Latino women) realize theyre sick, their cancer has progressed to a much more serious state so the mortality rate is higher, Howe said. The effort to educate is worthwhile because it means that at least one woman who wouldnt otherwise have access to medical services will receive the care she needs, said Gonzlez del Valle.This is a perfect venue for them to get breast cancer education, detection and prevention information, Gonzlez del Valle said.


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