Grant Provides Free Mammograms for N. Miss. Women

Grant Provides Free Mammograms for N. Miss. Women

One in seven women will have breast cancer in her lifetime. For many women, a mammogram could prove to be a lifesaver.
SOUTHAVEN, MS (localmemphis.com) - One in seven women will have breast cancer in her lifetime. For many women, a mammogram could prove to be a lifesaver.

Unfortunately for women without insurance or those who are under-insured, that may not be a viable option. However, a major grant is allowing doctors at Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto to fill in the gap for a large number of women in Mississippi who need this critical testing.

Donna Garner knows all too well the fear associated with breast cancer. With a family history she knew at an early age keeping a close eye on her health would be key. But she had a major problem: no insurance.

"It really scared me because I have an aunt that has breast cancer and it's just something I really needed to get don." she said. "It's very scary. I thought, what am I going to do? How much is this going to cost and everything? Because I knew it was expensive."

Robin Simpson, Director of Radiology with Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto, says unfortunately it's not an uncommon issue. With tests that can range upwards of $500, many times those who can't afford it will risk their health.

"Because a lot of women will think 500 dollars, well that's rent, that's a mortgage payment, that's a lot of groceries, that's clothes for my child. Therefore they will not spend that money on themselves."

Every year, thousands of women in the mid-south are diagnosed with breast cancer. Early detection from an annual mammogram is important for women 35-years of age or older to catch the cancer before it spreads.

Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto recently received a $60,000 grant from the Komen for a Cure Foundation to give free mammograms to women without insurance in Desoto, Tate, Tunica and Marshall Counties.

Simpson says that funding will help about 130 women to receive that testing; Garner was one of the lucky recipients.

"A couple of days later, they called and said I had two spots that were suspicious looking and that they wanted to do more testing."

Thankfully her tests came back negative, however she knows her story could have been a lot different. She believes the program here will certainly help other women on their road to good health as well.

"I think it could probably save some woman's life," garner said.

Again, this program is strictly for uninsured or under-insured women in Desoto, Tate, Tunica and Marshall Counties in Mississippi.

For more information, you can contact the hospital at 662-772-2100.

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