Help For Women Get Mammogram's in Region 8

JONESBORO, AR -- According to the American Cancer Society there could be as many as 1,840 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year in Arkansas alone.  Many women do survive breast cancer thanks to early detection.

"One in eight will develop breast cancer sometime in their lifetime," said Dee Collins.

Dee Collins is a care navigator for St. Bernards.

"I think it's being caught earlier.  I don't think the incident is actually lower.  I think we are seeing more women who are taking charge of their personal health," said Collins.

But in order to have that 'take charge attitude', many need to feel that they can.

"We don't want anyone to use the financial burden as a reason not to get a mammogram," said Collins.

Many women don't have insurance and if they do their insurance may not cover a mammogram.

"It's a reasonable number of ladies that come to us that don't have the insurance or their insurance doesn't cover this or they're not sure what to do," said Collins.

But it's important to do something.  That's where Collins with the St. Bernards Imaging Center and Kim Metcalf with the Jonesboro Church Health Center come in.

"If there are women out there that don't qualify for certain programs who do not have insurance or any resources -- they are welcome to come here and we will do a clinical breast exam," said Metcalf.

Metcalf is a registered nurse practitioner and they offer services to people who have no insurance.  While they don't do mammograms they can point you in the right direction.

"We are aware of the resources out there for women who fall through the gaps to get the studies that they need," said Metcalf.

"We see those ladies out there and we want to make sure that if you need a mammogram, even if you're not to that age of 40 when it's most important, that we get you the resources that are out there.  We want to get the financial assistance if that's what you need," said Collins.

They say the best thing to do is to go to your doctor and then your doctor can help you get the help you need.

"A lot of them have qualifications.  You have to meet guidelines that they are looking at, so that's something you need to investigate a little bit more," said Collins.

But the bottom line is, early detection is key.  If breast cancer is found early and the cancer is confined to the breast tissue there is a 95% survival rate.

"Together, with the clinical exam, the self exam, and the mammogram we feel very comfortable that we've done a very through workup on this lady," said Collins.

Here are some phone numbers you can call to get assistance if you need it:

YWCA Encore Plus

American Breast Cancer Foundation