Local women can receive free breast and cervical cancer screenings at Iola’s Community Health Center, 1408 East St.
The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas is the newest facet of a regional program meant to offer preventative care and education to women who can’t afford it.
Kelly York, regional outreach coordinator for the Early Detection Works program in Pittsburg, said the CHC has recently completed the training to offer breast and cervical cancer screenings to women 40 to 63 who do not have insurance and meet the program’s “very liberal” income guidelines.
A single woman qualifies for the free screenings if she makes $23,925 or less. If she is from a household of four, annual income tops out at $48,375 to receive the free services.
York said about 221 women in Allen County qualify for the screenings.
“We need to get these women to come out of the woodwork,” she said.
The Early Detection Works program has set up screening centers across the southeast Kansas region. The screenings originally began in Coffeyville. After an overwhelming response, the clinic began to expand its reach.
“For women without healthcare, the cost of having a mammogram may mean the difference between putting food on the table or paying household bills,” York said.
According to the 2012 Burden of Cancer in Kansas report, there are 1,900 invasive breast cancers diagnosed in the state every year — 380 Kansas females died from the disease. Prevention is the key. She said for cancers caught early, there is a 98-percent survival rate for patients.
York said the Early Detection Works program has served 22,974 women since it began in 2004. In addition to the screenings, the clinic offers educational presentations by request — they will travel to locations for their screening seminars.
“It’s a win/win,” York said. “Because of the education and the fact that they are saving money.”
ANOTHER local resource for Allen County women is the Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Department.
The department offers screenings at a $45 flat rate for breast exams, pap smears, STD tests and contraceptive exams. Public Health Nurse Christie Joyce said the department offers the screenings on as “as needed” basis and they have seen a good response from the public recently.
“We have seen quite a few,” Joyce said. “But there’s always a need for further education.”
Also for the month of February, the department is offering $30 heart health exams, which include blood pressure tests, readings, consultation and referrals.
For those interested in preventative care or for more information, call the CHC at 365-6400 or the health department at 365-2191.