April 27, 2010
The Prevent Cancer Foundation has been on the national scene for the past 25 years and during that time, the Foundation has advocated for national legislation, promoted cancer prevention at the National Institutes of Health and even helped proclaim March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. However, the Foundation also understands the importance of community outreach and has developed several programs to reach local groups and everyday people with life-saving tools for cancer prevention and early detection.
The Foundation’s State Fair Health Awareness and Screening Booths are among the most wide-reaching programs. We collaborate with local medical partners and state government representatives to provide needed tools, such as education and screening opportunities, to encourage people who live in rural areas to detect cancer early. In 2009, more than 5,500 people took advantage of the free health education and screening booths at fairs in Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and South Dakota.
While awareness of women’s health issues has increased in the past few years, many women are not screened for breast or cervical cancer because of language barriers, insurance problems or misinformation about these diseases. The Foundation partners with the George Washington University Cancer Center to bring the Mammovan, a mobile facility equipped with state-of-the-art mammography machines and skilled medical personnel, to community sites in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia. In 2009, the Mammovan successfully screened 2,481 women, the majority of whom did not have health insurance. Because of these efforts, four women were diagnosed with breast cancer and received appropriate follow-up care.
Language barriers are serious problems when it comes to health care. Last year, the Foundation celebrated the 15th anniversary of its ¡Celebremos la vida! program. Since 1994, Celebremos has been a mainstay of underserved Hispanic communities. Now, the program operates at three sites in the Washington D.C. metro area and at another site in McHenry County, Illinois. Participants in this program receive breast and cervical screenings, health education, follow-up care and patient navigation services regardless of the patient’s ability to pay. In the past fiscal year, Celebremos provided 774 mammograms and 674 Pap tests. Several of these women required diagnostic follow-up care, which the patient navigators found and facilitated.