Free Upcoming Program Scheduled to Help Remove Barriers to Early Cervical and Breast Cancer Diagnosis for Local Women

MINNEAPOLIS, April 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A free "See, Test and Treat" breast and cervical cancer screening program will be held at the Community Center of Excellence in Women's Health at NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center in Minneapolis, Minn. on May 13, 14 and 15. Appointments are being scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on May 13 and 14 and from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on May 15 by area community health representatives and other staff members.

Language interpreters will be onsite to help patients on Wednesday, May 14 (Spanish) and on Thursday, May 15 (Hmong).To register, call 612-302-4738 (English), 612-348-4711 (Spanish), and 612-287-2121 (Hmong). Walk-ins are also welcome.

"Cancer survival rates are directly related to the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis, so it's important to remove all barriers to early diagnosis and treatment for all women," said Brad Linzie, MD, FCAP, a pathologist at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. "This 'See, Test and Treat' program will provide immediate breast and cervical cancer diagnosis and follow-up for local women who are uninsured or underinsured."

This is the third "See, Test and Treat" event at the NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center and the seventh such program held throughout the country. The first was held in McLaughlin, S.D., in October 2001.

The College of American Pathologists supports efforts to expand cervical cancer screening programs to include currently underserved populations of women in the United States.

The College also recognizes that lack of access to health care for low-income adults and children is a significant societal problem, especially as it relates to important diagnostic and screening tests and tests related to disease treatment. As an organization of physicians acutely interested in the well-being of patients, the CAP supports efforts, such as the "See, Test and Treat" events, to find balanced, realistic and achievable means to expand health care coverage to uninsured Americans.

During the "See, Test and Treat" visit in May, women will be given a pelvic exam, along with a Pap test to detect any potential early signs of cervical cancer, and a mammogram for early detection of breast cancer. They will then receive their results immediately in a private setting, and if any follow-up is needed, will receive appropriate information or treatment during the same visit.

Traditional screening procedures would have women visit health care professionals twice - once to get examined and once for follow-up care. Factors such as poor access to transportation, lack of childcare, inability to take time off from a job, and other issues present barriers to women in getting the care they need.

"By removing these barriers and using a one-stop, 'See, Test and Treat' model of cancer screening, we hope to reduce the rate of cervical and breast cancer in women in this area," Dr. Linzie said.

Pathologists recommend that any woman who is older than 21 or who is sexually active should have regular Pap tests. The Pap test is a quick and simple procedure that could change a woman's life. If a woman is 30 years of age or older, it is also appropriate for her to have a human papillomavirus (HPV) test.

In addition, the CAP agrees with the recommendations of the American Cancer Society that all women 40 years and older should have annual mammograms, based on their physician's recommendation.

While all women 20 and older should conduct a breast self-exam every month, women between the ages of 20 and 39 should have a clinical breast exam every three years and should begin having clinical breast exams every year when they turn 40.

"See, Test and Treat" is sponsored by the College of American Pathologists, the National Community Center of Excellence (CCOE) on Women's Health at NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health and a coalition of pathologists, cytotechnologists, and other medical professionals in the Minneapolis area. The goals of the program are to encourage healthy behavior, and to have both testing and follow-up done in a single visit.

The "See, Test and Treat Single Visit Cervical and Breast Cancer Prevention Program" is funded by the College of American Pathologists and the National Community Center of Excellence (CCOE) on Women's Health at NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center.

Cytyc, a Hologic Company, is donating the Thin Prep machine and supplies. Local businesses will provide small gifts for all women who participate in the program.

The College of American Pathologists is a medical society that serves more than 17,000 physician members and the laboratory community throughout the world. It is the world's largest association composed exclusively of pathologists and is widely considered the leader in laboratory quality assurance. The CAP is an advocate for high-quality and cost-effective medical care.

SOURCE College of American Pathologists

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