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St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor to offer free cancer screening for uninsured, low-income women April 22

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Cancer. The word has the worst type of power over people, and it is universal.

With 12,000 women in the U.S. diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 200,000 diagnosed with breast cancer annually, it has earned that looming shadow for many women.

Some of the most at risk are uninsured and low-income women who aren’t screened because of the cost. St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor wants to help put some of their concerns to rest by offering free cancer screening on April 22.

no-cancerAs the only location in Michigan participating in the See, Test & Treat program, SJMAA will provide uninsured and low-income women ages 21 to 64 with free pelvic and breast exams and Pap tests with same-day results. Women ages 40 to 64 can also receive a free mammogram with same-day results. HPV tests, health education and access to community health resources will also be offered. Spanish-speaking staff will be available for those needing translation services.

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Dr. Sharon Bihlmeyer

“Our growing Spanish-speaking population in Washtenaw county and neighboring communities can truly benefit from See, Test & Treat,” says Dr. Sharon Bihlmeyer, pathologist, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor. “Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death for Hispanic women. And, among some underserved groups, the incidence of cervical cancer is 25 percent higher than national averages. But with regular screening, cervical cancer can be nearly eliminated and we can catch breast cancer early, when the potential for survival is greatest.”

In Michigan the incidence of cervical cancer among underserved groups is above the national average. Moreover, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among U.S. Hispanic women.

“With See, Test & Treat, we have the potential to reach patients who otherwise might receive a diagnosis much later, perhaps too late,” Bihlmeyer says. “But more than that, as we serve these patients and their families, we hope to have a sustainable impact on their future health as they gain an understanding of the services they can regularly access in their community.”

With regular screening cervical cancer can be nearly eliminated and there’s a five-year survival rate of 98 percent for breast cancer when found in early stages, so frequent screening is nothing but logical. This screening is free, which makes it all the easier.

“With See, Test & Treat, we have the potential to reach patients who otherwise might receive a diagnosis much later, perhaps too late,” Bihlmeyer says. “But more than that, as we serve these patients and their families, we hope to have a sustainable impact on their future health as they gain an understanding of the services they can regularly access in their community.”

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Through See Test & Treat, a growing number of underserved women nationwide are gaining culturally sensitive access to preventive care, including Pap tests and mammography, with results and follow-up consults delivered the same day. Tailored to the needs of each targeted community, the program typically includes interpreters, multilingual patient outreach and education materials, even transportation and children’s activities. This patient-centered, coordinated approach helps ensure that underserved women gain the early detection advantage and life-saving services that pathologists provide.

Screening will be held on April 22 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Women’s Health Center on the campus of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, 5320 Elliott Drive in Ypsilanti.

To register Call 734-712-7881.

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