For so many women, there endless excuses to procrastinate getting a mammogram. For some, it’s fear of the unknown; for others, it’s about making time between work and family schedules; and, sadly, for a growing number of women, it’s lack of money or insurance.
But, the reasons to get a mammogram far outweighs any of those. If you find cancer early you have a 98 percent chance of surviving. Those odds drop to 25 percent if your doctor finds breast cancer in its late stage, when it has likely spread to other areas of the body. It isn’t a scare tactic; it’s a fact.
These local facilities offer free mammograms for women who are uninsured, 40 plus, experiencing lumps or pain in their breasts and/or have a family history of breast cancer.
The Louisiana Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program funds free breast screenings at these locations:
Iberia Medical Center
2315 E. Main St., New Iberia
The mission of Iberia Medical Center's First Friday Program is to increase awareness of the importance of early detection, honor those who have had breast cancer, provide free screening mammograms for people in need and to help save lives.
On Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, the Women's Diagnostic Center at Iberia Medical OncoLogics and the City of New Iberia will present the first annual Hats for Hope Luncheon, an inspirational afternoon of breast cancer education and survivorship. The event will take place at the Sliman Theatre from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased on Eventbrite.com.
Northside Community Health Center
1800 Louisiana Ave., Lafayette
Monday through Friday, 1-9 p.m.
Bring picture ID and a list of any medications currently taking
Evangeline Family Medicine Center
505 E. Lincoln Rd., Ville Platte
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Southwest LA Primary Healthcare Center
8762 LA-182, Opelousas
Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (opened until 8 p.m. on Wednesday)
Mammo Coach- Through funding from the Louisiana Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, once a month Woman’s Hospital Imaging Center in Baton Rouge sends a mobile unit to outlying areas offering free 3D mammograms for uninsured women. In February, the unit began going to New Iberia and will be there again:
New Iberia Community Center
806 Jefferson Terrace Rd.
October 28 and 31 from 9 a.m-2 pm.
Patients who don’t have a physician, must first see the Center’s OB/GYN to obtain an order before getting the free mammogram.
Exams are read by Woman’s board-certified radiologist the next day, and the patient receives the results in the mail. If additional images are necessary, the patient must have them done at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, at which point she will be given the result before she leaves. Image readings are covered by the grant and free to the patient.
If the screening shows that a patient does have cancer, the cost of treatment is not covered under this free service. If you are enrolled in Medicaid, benefits are extended to women whose breast cancer is found under the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection program.
Patty Haupert, Director of Imaging Services at Woman’s Hospital, says a total of 1,340 patients have taken advantage of the mobile unit’s free mammograms from January through July, 2019. Since June, 77 patients have had free screenings through the mobile unit at the New Iberia Comprehensive Community Health Center.
Because the unit is still new to the New Iberia area, it is too early to have numbers on cancer detection. Haupert says The Woman’s Hospital Mammography program’s overall cancer detection rate is 5 cancers per 1,000 screening mammograms.
Haupert describes the mobile unit as a life-saving program for many women who otherwise may not have had positive outcomes. “More than 95 percent of breast cancer cases can be cured with early detection and prompt treatment, and that’s what these mammography coaches allow us to do with more frequency. Through funding from partnerships such as Komen, Louisiana Breast and Cervical Health Program and Mary Bird Perkins, Woman’s Hospital is able to offer free mammograms to women who do not have health insurance,” she adds.