Denton County commissioners and the Susan G. Komen Foundation are out to help women who have low income receive testing for breast cancer.
Commissioners approved a $35,000 grant from the foundation that will go toward providing access to mammograms to women who qualify.
“Certainly, early testing helps with early diagnosis and the disease is much easier to treat if the diagnosis is made very early,” said Bing Burton, director of the Denton County Health Department. “That is part of the prevention of breast cancer — to go ahead and get mammograms when they are recommended and use that information if additional steps are necessary.”
Burton said that for a lot of families, the cost of getting the test done is prohibitive, which leads to them not being done.
According to the Texas Cancer Registry, from 2005 to 2009 breast cancer mortality rates in Denton County were 12.4 per 100,000 people.
The exact number of women the grant can help is not certain, Burton said.
“It depends on the contract we’re able to get for the mammograms,” he said. “Sometimes you get a very good price and sometimes the price is not so good.”
Once a woman’s eligibility is determined, county health officials will pair her with a provider, and the county will pick up the cost.
The offer is not limited to patients already seen at the county clinic, Burton said.
“It’s for any Denton County woman if she is financially eligible and in the group that a mammogram is recommended for,” he said.
Cathreena Kang, missions program manager for Susan G. Komen North Texas, said the organization and the county have a good system working together.
“And I feel very strongly that Denton County has a lot of community partners working together to make sure women get education, screening, diagnostic and treatment to help through her breast cancer journey,” she said.
Kang said the county’s demographics were interesting, with higher income south of Lewisville Lake and a much more diverse population north of the lake.
“Having the health department be centrally located and not only offering breast health services but many others is a huge asset to the community,” she said.
Women seeking more information or to see whether they are eligible can call the health department at 940-349-2900.
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjLewisDRC.