By Baylee Pulliam
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Community Hospital Anderson wants to strike another blow in the local fight against breast cancer.
It plans to offer breast health outreach programs and diagnostics services throughout next year to help women who are uninsured or under-insured. The services are funded through a $71,253 grant from Komen Central Indiana.
“These are women who couldn’t afford to pay on their own,” said Marsha Sherrell, CHA’s director of cancer services. “This gives them access to life-saving services.”
For example, she points to one patient who felt a lump in her breast, but ignored it because she didn’t have insurance. CHA’s grant funded a mammogram and biopsy that identified the lump as cancer.
“That was three years ago,” Sherrell said. “She’s still here.”
Anderson’s grant covers screenings such as clinical breast exams and mammograms, diagnostics such as MRIs, biopsies, ultrasounds and other treatment assistance to support low income patients who would otherwise not be able to afford it. Last year, CHA’s grant money helped nearly 400 women.
That’s crucial, Sherrell said, since early detection and treatment improves the five-year survival rate to 99 percent. Patients who are diagnosed after the cancer has a chance to progress aren’t as lucky — under a quarter will live five years after initial discovery.
“We have a very good breast program,” Sherrell said. “Our survival rates here are better than they are nationally. We’re identifying cancer early — most are in stages zero, one or two.”
Komen grants have had a big impact in Central Indiana, and last year helped nearly 38,000 Hoosier women in 21 counties via services such as education, screenings, survivor support and mammograms, which identified breast cancer in more than 100 women.
This year’s Central Indiana Komen grants totaled roughly $1.3 million, distributed among 14 programs.
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