NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - The state of Texas provides free or low cost breast and cervical cancer services for women.
Reimbursements to doctors aren't in a timely fashion, but community health clinics usually put up with the inconvenience because of the good work the program accomplishes.
Cancer runs in Evelyn Berry's family. Annual breast and cervical cancer screenings are important to her.
"That's something that I have to make appointments for and I make sure I get that taken care of every year," said Berry, an East Texas Community Health Clinic patient.
The East Texas Community Health Center makes it easy for Evelyn to set up her appointments for her annual exams. It especially targets women who are eligible for the breast and cervical cancer services offered through the state.
"This project is actually for under insured or not insured at all. Those who can't afford to go get a mammogram," said Dorinda Williams, ETCHC social worker.
"This is majorly needed in this area for this population, targeting lower income women, particularly women of color because African Americans are more likely to get breast cancer than Caucasian women," said Robin Moore, ETCHC Director.
The Breast Care Center operated through Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital has the contract to perform the mammograms. A local doctor agrees to handle any follow up treatments, if they're necessary.
There's no need to travel outside of East Texas for care.
"We're seeing new women and that's part of the grant. They want to see a certain number of unduplicated," said Williams.
The average case load is about 155 women a year. The health clinic has renewed its grant with
East Texas Community Health every year since 2007. A lot of women are receiving the screenings that can help save lives.
In Texas, there were over 15,000 new cases of breast cancer and over 1,200 new cases of cervical cancer during 2011. Appointments for breast exams, mammograms, pap tests, and follow up exams are encouraged during October's Breast Care Awareness month.