Newswise — Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, is expanding its screening and diagnostics program from nine cities to 12. Now, income-eligible residents from Dallas, Los Angeles, and Memphis also can access no-cost, breast cancer screening and diagnostic services. Atlanta, Chicago, Fort Worth, Houston, Madison, WI, Marshfield, WI, Philadelphia, Virginia Beach, and Washington D.C. are the other cities where the program is already operating.
“The screening and diagnostics program is critical for individuals who may have been putting off their breast cancer screening due to concerns about cost,” said Victoria Wolodzko Smart, Senior Vice President of Mission at Susan G. Komen. “Early detection saves lives, and cost should not be a barrier to accessing high-quality health care services for anyone in need. Through expanding this program, we are breaking down barriers for more people.”
The Komen screening and diagnostics program is a service provided through the Komen Patient Care Center. Individuals who meet income qualifications will be able to access no-cost breast cancer screening mammograms and necessary diagnostic follow-up tests. They will receive a voucher and be connected to a local health system that has partnered with Komen to provide the services.
The local health systems that have partnered with Komen include:
Wellstar Health System
NorthShore University HealthSystem
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
Moncrief Cancer Institute
Houston Methodist Neal Cancer Center
Alinea Medical Imaging
University of Wisconsin Health
Marshfield Clinic Health System
Baptist Memorial Hospital
Penn Medicine: University of Pennsylvania Health System
Chesapeake Regional Medical Center
Breast Care for Washington
Last year, Susan G. Komen provided nearly 3,000 screening and diagnostics services. Now, with the voucher program, Komen hopes to serve another 3,000 individuals in 2023. “The screening and diagnostics program is active in the 10 metropolitan areas where the breast cancer mortality gap between Black and white women is the greatest.” says Cati Diamond Stone, Vice President of Community Health at Susan G. Komen. “As part of Komen’s work to achieve health equity for all, we are eliminating barriers for people who cannot get timely, and high-quality health care they need.”
Income eligible people seeking access to a breast cancer screening mammogram or diagnostic service should contact the Komen Breast Care Helpline at 1-877-465-6636 or [email protected] to learn more.
About Breast Cancer Screening
Screening mammography tests are used to find breast cancer before it causes any warning signs or symptoms. Regular screening tests along with follow-up tests and treatment, if diagnosed reduce an individual’s chance of dying from breast cancer.
Mammography is a test that uses X-rays to create images of the breast. These images are called mammograms. A radiologist trained to read mammograms studies the images and looks for signs of breast cancer.
A mammogram may show:
- No signs of breast cancer
- A benign (not cancer) condition or other change that does not suggest cancer
- An abnormal finding that needs follow-up tests to rule out cancer
Alisa Berndt Knows the Importance of Breast Cancer Screening
Wisconsin native Alisa Berndt feels grateful for the screening voucher she received from Komen. It provided her with access to a mammogram and follow-up tests in 2020 that confirmed she had stage 2 invasive lobular carcinoma.
“I’m not the type of person that does mammograms all the time,” Berndt said. “I hadn’t had one in two years, and I was about to go see my primary care doctor for my annual physical. I thought I better get my mammogram so he wouldn’t be upset with me for skipping them, and that’s how we figured out that I had breast cancer. They saw a calcification on my mammogram.”
Berndt turned to Susan G. Komen for help. She called the Breast Care Helpline and applied for a voucher from Komen’s screening & diagnostics program to cover the cost of her diagnostic mammogram. The screening & diagnostics program provides income-eligible people with no-cost screening and diagnostic services like the diagnostic mammogram Alisa needed.
“I had to stop and think about what I was going to do,” she said. “I called Susan G. Komen and was told that I could apply to see if they would pay for the diagnostic mammogram. I was very fortunate because, without Susan G. Komen, I wouldn’t have had my mammogram this year. I can’t afford it. Just because somebody has insurance doesn’t mean they can pay out-of-pocket for mammograms.”
For Reporters: If you are interested in interviewing a patient, Komen expert and the partner health system, please contact Cristobal Martinez at [email protected]