October 20, 2015
What happens when a woman doesn’t have insurance coverage or the financial resources to pay out of pocket for a mammogram or finds it hard to make an appointment? What if she doesn’t know how or where to get a mammogram? The Prevent Cancer Foundation has a program dedicated to helping Latina women get the breast cancer screenings they need.
¡Celebremos la Vida! (Let’s Celebrate Life) has provided nearly 20,000 potentially life-saving breast
and cervical cancer screenings in clinics located across the DC metro area and in a Chicago suburb.
Celebremos ensures that participants receive free or low-cost comprehensive education and screening in a setting that is culturally appropriate and nurturing. Women are encouraged to return for yearly check-ups, take care of their health and promote the message of early detection to friends and family. Each site’s bilingual and bicultural patient navigator schedules follow-up appointments for abnormal tests.
Our navigators work with participants to guide them through the health care system starting with mammograms (screening test for breast cancer) and pap tests (screening test for cervical cancer). They are dedicated to making the process simple. If breast or cervical cancer is detected, that participant will be treated regardless of her ability to pay.
This program has changed the lives of thousands of women including Luisa* (not pictured to maintain confidentiality). Luisa and her family suffered in the economic recession a few years ago. Her husband lost his job, and they lost their house. As the sole bread winner, she was working two jobs, making it difficult to keep up with her regular checkups, she hadn’t seen a doctor in over two years.
When she found time to return to a clinic for unrelated health checks, her provider also ordered a mammogram.
Like many Celebremos participants, her job did not have a flexible work schedule or the perks of health insurance and paid-time off. In many cases, these challenges would stop a woman from getting screened but our patient navigator worked with Luisa to find a convenient time and location for her to get screened.
Her routine screening then took an unexpected turn: her mammogram results and her follow-up diagnostic results were abnormal, and a biopsy revealed she had cancer. At this moment she realized she had to make her health a higher priority.
After her diagnosis, the Celebremos navigator helped her apply for help from the state’s breast and cervical cancer program to get the care she needed at an affordable cost. None of the health care she received would have been possible without Celebremos.
The Foundation would like to express its appreciation to Susan G. Komen® and ONYX Pharmaceuticals, Inc., for their generous support of ¡Celebremos la Vida!
*Her real name has been changed to protect the privacy of our Celebremos participant.