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Prescott area clinics make mammograms available to all

Photos.com<br>Yavapai County Community Health Services and Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s BreastCare Center offer low-income women annual mammograms at little to no cost.

Photos.com<br>Yavapai County Community Health Services and Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s BreastCare Center offer low-income women annual mammograms at little to no cost.

Baring your breasts so that a stranger can smash them into pancakes is never fun, but as October rolls in, we are all reminded of breast cancer awareness and the importance of having annual mammograms.

Despite the importance of having an annual mammogram, finding the money to pay for the procedure can be a challenge for uninsured or underinsured women.

Two clinics in the Prescott area are making sure that every woman, no matter her economic status, has the opportunity to get an annual mammogram at low to no cost.

The Yavapai County Community Health Services, 1090 Commerce Drive in Prescott, offers women free breast and cervical cancer screening through the state's Well Woman HealthCheck Program (WWHP).

The program does have an income eligibility, residence and citizenship requirement, coordinator Lois Schmittinger said. The clinic helps women fill out the paperwork to determine if they are eligible for the program.

The program offers women ages 40-64 screening for breast cancer and women ages 18-64 cervical cancer screening.

WWHP also helps pay for treatment for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, Schmittinger said.

Last year the clinic provided 418 women mammograms, according to Schmittinger. Of the 418, eight women were diagnosed with cancer.

"That's a lot of women that can come in and get a breast exam," Schmittinger said.

A portion of WWHP funding comes from Pink Ribbon license plates.

Out of $25 for each plate, $17 of that goes directly to WWHP. License plates can be purchased on-line at azdhs.gov/savealife.

In addition to money from the WWHP, the clinic receives Komen Dollars to help pay for mammograms, Schmittinger said. Seventy-five percent of the money raised from the race in Phoenix goes toward the grants that the clinic receives from the foundation.

In Prescott Valley the Yavapai Regional Medical Center's BreastCare Center, 7700 E. Florentine Road, also is offering financially challenged women help with annual mammograms.

"We can prevent this for a lot of women," clinical navigator Nancy Ledoyen said. "Some women are very aware of their potential risk and others really don't have a good understanding, but think they are at risk."

Uninsured and underinsured women can call the center to see if they qualify for the free program.

"It's very easy to qualify," Ledoyen said. "Basically if people have no insurance, if they have insurance with high deductibles, if they have something that is unusual going on, we don't make them fill out this whole thing of forms. We ask them three or four questions and if they qualify, they qualify, end of story."

For more information on the Well Woman HealthCheck Program, visit www.wellwomanhealthcheck.org or contact the Yavapai County Community Health Services at 928-442-5491.

To learn more about breast care options or to schedule an appointment at the BreastCare Center at Yavapai Regional Medical Center, call 928-442-8900 or visit www.yrmc.org/departments/bcc.

Follow Tamara Sone on Twitter @PDCtsone.

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