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Women's cancer screenings focus of new program

cancer screenings The Snohomish Health District is participating in the Breast and Cervical Health Program, part of a Center for Disease Control-sponsored statewide initiative. The program will address the issue of early detection and treatment of breast and cervical cancer.
   Funded through 1998, the program is aimed at increasing screening of low-income, under- or uninsured women aged 40 and older in high risk populations, such as Black, Hispanic, and Native Americans. Women will be directed to community clinics and other healthcare providers in Snohomish County for affordable treatment as indicated by screening results.
   According to Ward Hinds, M.D., Health Officer of the Snohomish Health District, the BCHP will focus on education, awareness, support, and service.
   "Accurate information and access to screening services, follow-up, and treatment are the key ingredients to reducing mortality from breast and cervical cancer," Hinds said. "Through increasing access to local service providers and establishing strong community outreach, we hope to reach the at-risk populations in our county and ensure appropriate care. Right now, we estimate that, at minimum, there are more than 13,000 women in the county who may be eligible for BCHP services. By reaching many of these women, we may save lives."
   The campaign will depend on a strong grassroots effort supported by businesses, media, religious organizations, schools, and other groups. The program is locally administered by the Snohomish Health District.
   Donna Larsen, R.N., Assistant Director of Community Health for the Health District and responsible for the BCHP in Snohomish County, says her first goal is to disseminate information about breast and cervical cancer risks and treatment as well as emphasize the value of regular health exams for women.
   "The Health District is very committed to this program, and we believe strongly in our goal of reducing mortality from breast and cervical cancers in high-risk populations. We will go into the communities, one-on-one, to where people live and work, to reach as many women as possible. We will increase the demand for women's health exams, direct women to available services, and monitor the effectiveness of these activities. Women's lives will be saved. This program will have some significant results," Larsen said.
   Women who wish to find a clinic near them or learn if they qualify for the BCHP may call 339-5230. Interpreters will be available. The Snohomish Health District is a nonprofit government agency directed by a board of elected officials from the cities and communities of Snohomish County.