Breast cancer: it’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
Early detection is the best prevention and can be key for cancer survival. Thousands of women will be running for breast cancer this weekend for the Annual Run for Women, and it’s a good time to make sure you’re up to date on your screening. One of the most important screening tests to find breast cancer early is the mammogram.
“We’re on the front line for deciding whether that is a breast cancer or something that doesn’t need to be worried about,” said Dr. Denise Fairleigh, a doctor at Providence Imaging Center. “Getting a mammogram is not necessarily pleasant because the breast has to be compressed for a mammogram, but it doesn’t last long and it’s not really that terrible.”
Now, women living in more remote parts of the state have easier access to mammograms. Providence Imaging Center unveiled its mobile mammography center earlier this year.
“It’s a program we created to help prevent, to help break down the barriers that women would report to us why they didn’t get a mammogram,” said Shelley Coolidge, a registered nurse with Providence Imaging Center.
Coolidge said there are ways women who can’t afford a mammogram screening or who may be without insurance coverage, can get one.
“We can qualify people for the breast and cervical health check program, which is a grant,” Coolidge said. “Our scheduling staff can do that if you call and say I don’t have insurance and I need help. We can also access funds through Providence Alaska Foundation, with no questions asked.”
Recently, 130 women, living in Valdez, Cordova, Glenn Allen and Seward, received mammograms through the Imaging Center’s mobile mammography.
The 25th Anniversary of Alaska Run for Women is this weekend, Saturday, June 10. Money raised for the race goes to support breast cancer research and education in Alaska.