CLEARFIELD – A program available at Clearfield Hospital is helping women who lack health insurance receive free mammograms.
The Mammogram Voucher Program, an initiative of the American Cancer Society, provides free mammograms and follow-up diagnostic services to medically underinsured and uninsured women in central, northwestern and western Pennsylvania.
The program is funded by a grant from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
“Early detection improves the chances that breast cancer can be located, diagnosed and treated successfully. Mammography is currently the most effective method of early detection. Clearfield Hospital is proud to partner with the American Cancer Society to ensure that all women who need a mammogram can receive one,” stated Darlene Rowles, imaging supervisor for Clearfield Hospital.
Services included in the MVP are: screening and diagnostic mammograms; breast sonograms; clinical examinations of the breast; needle aspirations and biopsies; and surgical consultation.
Rowles said women who are eligible for the program:
• Have no insurance and would have difficulty paying, or
• Are unemployed and without medical assistance that covers mammograms, or
• Are under age 40 and symptomatic or have a close relative (mother, sister, daughter) diagnosed as having pre-menopausal breast cancer, or
• Are age 40 and over without insurance coverage for annual screening mammograms and cannot otherwise afford mammograms, particularly if there is a risk factor for breast cancer.
• Must reside in central, northwestern or western Pennsylvania.
In addition to yearly mammograms starting at age 40, Rowles said women should have a clinical breast exam during a periodic health exam, every three years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over. Monthly breast self-exam is also important.
In 2006, Clearfield Hospital’s mammography department performed more than 5,000 mammograms.
Mammography personnel, Tonda Beard, Holly Bryan, Betsy Linsenbigler, Angela Weed and Jen Wenturine, are highly trained and sensitive to their patients’ needs.
“We understand that having a mammogram is a scary experience for some, but we strive to make the experience as comfortable as possible. We are happy to answer questions or address concerns patients have before, during and after the procedure,” said Beard, a certified mammographer and radiologic technologist who has been with Clearfield Hospital for 26 years.
The mammography staff participates in breast cancer awareness programs and fundraisers, such as the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. They also present community education programs about breast health and the importance of early detection.
“Women often put off their own health care needs in order to take care of others. We want them to know it’s important for them to take care of their health as well by visiting their doctor regularly and following recommended screening guidelines,” Rowles said.
For more information about the Mammogram Voucher Program, contact 888-687-0505, or Rowles at 768-2033.
Community presentations by the mammography staff may be arranged through Rowles.