On Tuesday, April 26, between 9 a.m. and three p.m., 22 Glascock County ladies have scheduled to get their annual mammogram on College Hospital Breast Well being Middle’s cell unit, which might be parked on the Well being Division in Gibson.
“There are a lot of completely different obstacles that make it onerous for girls in rural areas to get the well being care companies they want,” mentioned LisaAnn Wheeler, the Affected person Navigator for the Georgia Division of Well being’s Breast and Cervical Most cancers Program (BCCP).
Girls in rural areas face meals insecurity points, lack of entry to inexpensive clothes, hire help or youngster care. Others have to decide on between paying their utility payments or paying for therapy. The primary barrier Wheeler sees is transportation.
She has partnered with quite a few suppliers and companies to host a well being honest whereas the cell unit is on the town.
Companions will provide blood strain screenings, COVID screenings and vaccinations, HIV testing in addition to info on quite a lot of companies.
Wheeler’s personal program affords breast and cervical most cancers screenings for girls who’re uninsured, underinsured or have low revenue.
“What we offer is an annual examination protecting gynecological care, Pap/HPV testing, scientific breast exams and referrals for mammograms if age acceptable,” Wheeler mentioned. “What I’m discovering is that girls, attributable to obstacles and COVID is considered one of them, haven’t been getting their mammograms.”
Typically it’s due to the obstacles already talked about and typically it is merely that they can not afford it. And whereas there are loads of packages that provide a free mammogram, most (and plenty of high-deductible insurance coverage) don’t cowl comply with up visits.
Wheeler’s program, which covers 13 counties all through the CSRA together with Glascock and Jefferson, is completely different.
“Usually occasions insurance coverage covers the screening mammogram however say they discover one thing, and it may not be most cancers, however they want you to return again and do a diagnostic mammogram,” she mentioned. “Usually excessive deductible insurance coverage doesn’t cowl that. It doesn’t cowl the ultrasound. It doesn’t cowl the biopsy and it doesn’t cowl the surgical seek the advice of. Girls are left in a ridiculous scenario.”
The Breast and Cervical Most cancers Program covers all of that for girls who qualify.
“And if a lady is discovered to have most cancers beneath this system, then we’ll help them with making use of for girls’s well being Medicaid, which is able to cowl their breast most cancers therapy. That’s big,” Wheeler mentioned. “What I’ve discovered is that there’s such want proper now, it’s overwhelming and COVID hasn’t made it any simpler. I do my finest to help with the sources I’ve to beat all these obstacles.”
This system additionally affords screenings for HPV and helps cowl the price of a colposcopy if they’re discovered to be constructive for the virus and are susceptible to creating uterine most cancers.
Wheeler can also be the lead advocate with the Nationwide Breast Most cancers Coalition for the state of South Carolina within the Aiken space. She volunteers to work with legislators on initiatives just like the Metastatic Breast Most cancers Entry to Care Act.
“The ready durations for girls recognized with this illness to get incapacity and SSI are loopy,” she mentioned. “Sadly, we now have ladies who’re dying earlier than they will obtain the care they deserve.”
Wheeler misplaced her mom, Lorraine Davis Jackman, to metastatic breast most cancers in 2017. Her ardour for the work may be very private.
“She was a outstanding girl. She lived with metastatic illness for a lot of, a few years. Surgical procedure, therapy, surgical procedure and so forth,” Wheeler mentioned. “She at all times had this ardour for all times and this love of individuals. What I do day by day, I do for her.”
To study extra concerning the BCCP program, ask about future visits from the cell mammogram unit or study extra concerning the packages she spearheads to extend information and reduce ladies’s probabilities of getting recognized with breast most cancers, go to the well being honest April 26 or contact Wheeler at [email protected] or name (706) 667-4255.