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Free Mammograms for Uninsured Englewood Women

St. Bernard Hospital is donating 150 free mammograms for women who live in the Englewood and West Englewood neighborhoods. As part of the ‘Screen to Live’ initiative, sponsored by the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force, the program specifically targets African American women in these communities, who are not covered by health insurance and are over 40 years of age. “We are seeking to educate women about breast cancer mortality disparity.” says, Task Force Associate Director Darlene Oliver.

Through community breast cancer health forums the Task Force hopes to engage and educate some 400 women. The forums are comprehensive in addressing the many aspects of care, during a recent Breast Cancer Forum Ms. Oliver notes, “The panel discussed pastoral and spiritual care, nutrition, lifestyle, mammography myths, and treatment options.”

It is primarily through these forums that the Task Force hopes to enroll 200 participants for mammogram screenings. However, women interested in the screenings can also phone the Task Force directly at (312) 942-1899. Program enrollment is coordinated exclusively through the Breast Cancer Task Force, not the participating health centers.

St. Bernard Hospital President and CEO Sister Elizabeth Van Straten offered the mammograms to serve a community where despite a rate of breast cancer on par with surrounding areas, women are far less likely to survive the disease. Says Sister Elizabeth, “As a Catholic hospital, we serve the needs of the community as part of the healing mission of Jesus Christ. In keeping with that mission we strive to provide access to care and preventive medicine that can save lives.”

The Radiology Department at St. Bernard is equipped with new, state-of-the-art digital mammography machines that produce images 100% more accurate than the traditional mammography film. “Traditional mammograms don’t always give a clear picture of the breast,” according to Radiology Department Director Lorie Chew. She says, “The images on digital mammography can be magnified to get a closer look at any suspected problem areas.”

In her department a mammogram takes only 20 minutes to complete, and results are available to physicians within a day or two. Due to the increased speed of the procedure women spend less time with their breast compressed, which has been a complaint about mammograms. With more than 50 years of combined experience in radiology, Director Chew and her team are skilled at providing caring and friendly service to women seeking mammograms.

The Task Force will work with St. Bernard Hospital and the Chicago Department of Public Health’s Englewood Clinic, to schedule mammogram screenings. Mercy Hospital and Medical Center will provide any additional follow up care and treatment, as needed – which will also be coordinated by The Task Force.

Women who meet eligibility requirements under the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program and are diagnosed with cancer can also receive treatment benefits.

This initiative is focused on serving uninsured women only. Uninsured women face an especially daunting challenge in accessing health care and preventive medicine. According to a report published by the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, in Illinois, “Approximately 650,000 adults lost their private health insurance since 2005.” A majority of the people who lost their coverage were women, leaving many without access to these life-saving screenings.

About St. Bernard Hospital
St. Bernard Hospital was ranked among the top 5% in the nation for emergency medicine, according to the 2011 HealthGrades® survey of U.S. hospitals. For 2012 St. Bernard achieved five-star quality ratings from HealthGrades for Heart Failure Treatment and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Founded in 1904 by the Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph, St. Bernard continues its mission to care for the sick and promote the health of the residents in the community while witnessing the Christian values of respect, dignity, caring and compassion for all persons.

Keywords: Breast Cancer, health, health care, healthcare, women's health

Posted in Business News, Community Highlights, Healthcare/Health Resources