NORTON, Va. – Early detection is the key to beating breast and cervical cancer, but statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show many women are not getting the screenings they need. Screening rates are particularly low among women who have no health insurance, with only 38 percent of uninsured women receiving mammograms and 63 percent receiving Pap tests on the recommended schedule.
To help address the need for screening in our area, Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System will partner with the College of American Pathologists Foundation to host See, Test & Treat® – a free breast and cervical screening event for women who live in Southwest Virginia. The event will be held Saturday, Aug. 5, at 8 a.m. at Medical Arts Building No. 2 on the Norton Community Hospital campus.
Services will include Pap tests and mammograms, as well as breast and cervical exams. Most test results will be available the same day, and caregivers will work with patients to ensure they receive follow-up care if tests show any concerning findings.
The foundation provides program oversight and a significant grant for this event. One of the leaders in bringing the event to Wise County is Theresa Emory, M.D., a pathologist who practiced in the region and is a member of the foundation’s board of directors.
“We are excited to be able to bring See, Test & Treat to a rural community for the first time and hold it in Wise County,” Dr. Emory said. “This is a great opportunity for women to participate in screenings and exams that could potentially save their lives. We have developed a seamless process to take care of these women throughout their time with us and look forward to serving them.”
To be eligible for a screening, women need to register by calling Wellmont Nurse Connection at 1-877-230-NURSE (6877), where nurses will walk them through the signup process and provide them with an appointment time. Breast and cervical exams and Pap tests will be available to women between the ages of 21 and 65, while mammograms will be provided to women who are between the ages of 40 and 65. Women who have received a Pap test within the last three years or a mammogram within the last year will not need to repeat these screenings.
In addition to breast and cervical exams and tests, the event will offer lab work and bone-density screenings for women who register. Medical professionals from Wellmont and Mountain States will also have booths to discuss additional medical topics with women, such as nutrition, physical activity, tobacco cessation and diabetes.
Event organizers are helping women focus on their well-being by providing some activities for their children while they receive their exams and tests. Food City is supporting the event by donating food for patients as well as backpacks filled with school supplies for patients’ children. University of Virginia’s College at Wise is providing housing support for some of the care providers.
To help spread the word about the clinic, representatives of Mountain States and Wellmont will have a table at the upcoming Remote Area Medical clinic. That event is being held Friday, July 21, through Sunday, July 23, at the Wise County Fairgrounds.
“RAM has provided an exceptional service to the region for decades, and we wholeheartedly support the great work it has achieved,” Dr. Emory said. “Our services will complement what RAM offers and enable women to receive a comprehensive level of care through both events. Women tend to focus on the needs of others, but it is imperative they set aside time to look out for themselves.”
For more information or to register, call Wellmont Nurse Connection at 1-877-230-NURSE (6877). To learn more about the national program, please visit the “get involved” section of http://foundation.cap.org.