Hickory – Catawba County Public Health and the United Way of Catawba County have teamed up to make regular, affordable breast health screenings easier for women to obtain.
Breast cancer affects women from all walks of life in Catawba County, but some groups of women experience higher mortality from the disease. In Catawba County, there were 801 new cases of female breast cancer diagnosed from 2013-2017. In that same period, breast cancer mortality rates showed a disparity for non-Hispanic black women who experienced a mortality rate of 27.7 per 100,000 compared to 19.4 for non-Hispanic white women. This makes black women more likely to die from breast cancer in Catawba County.
To combat this, United Way awarded Public Health a grant to provide a Lay Breast Health Advisor who is able to help women navigate the process of obtaining breast health screenings such as mammograms. That advisor, Jackie Brown, is now available to conduct one-on-one and group sessions with women in Catawba County and help link them to services.
While any woman can get breast cancer, her chances increase as she ages. The good news is that the earlier cancer is found and treated, the better the chance of living for many more years. For some women, getting access to preventive care can be a challenge. That’s why Public Health offers free or low-cost screenings, education and referral services to eligible women through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control program (BCCCP).
The program offers clinical breast exams, screening mammograms, pap tests and HPV tests, and diagnostic procedures (mammograms, ultrasounds, colposcopies, breast and cervical biopsies). If screening results are abnormal, medical consultations are ordered, and referrals are made to treatment if cancer is found. Women who are enrolled in BCCCP and who are found to have cancer during their screening are eligible to receive free or reduced-cost treatment with special Medicaid funds.
BCCCP services are intended for women who are uninsured or underinsured, who are not covered by Medicare Part B or Medicaid and who have a household income below 250% of the federal poverty level.
Women who are interested in learning more about breast health or who are interested in having a group session at a club meeting, church or other group gathering can set up a visit from the advisor by calling (828) 695-2009. Sessions are available from now through December. Appointments for the BCCCP program can be made by calling (828) 695-5800.
Catawba County Public Health promotes and protects the health of all Catawba County residents through preventive services, innovative partnerships, and community health improvement initiatives. For more information, please call (828) 695-5800 or visit www.catawbacountync.gov/phealth.
Photo: Jackie Brown is the Lay Breast Health Advisor and works to educate women on breast cancer screening options.