Breast cancer is the most common women’s cancer in the U.S. and the second leading cause of death from cancer among U.S. women. Though the guidelines for breast screening have been the topic of recent debate, cancer experts do agree that women who are poor, lack health insurance, and have limited or no access to effective health care bear a greater burden of the disease than the general population.
The American Cancer Society reports that regular mammography screening reduces breast cancer mortality in women ages 40 to 74 by providing early detection leading to early medical intervention. Even so, many women do not have this quick and potentially lifesaving test. According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, women who do not have a primary care physician are far less likely to be tested. Lack of health-care coverage results in low prospect of screening. In addition, the cost of the procedure is compounded by indirect costs, including transportation and lost wages that create additional financial barriers to access.
Fortunately, access to free or low-cost breast and cervical cancer screening services are available in our community; no primary care physician or private insurance coverage required. Forty Wonderful, a program of the Community Action Partnership’s (CAPSLO) Health Services Clinics, provides menopausal services for low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women ages 40 and over at clinics conveniently located in San Luis Obispo (544-2478) and Arroyo Grande (489-4026).