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Komen grant a boon for county

Agrant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation to the Denton County Health Department is good news for women who might have to skip important cancer screenings because they can’t afford mammograms.

On Tuesday, Denton County commissioners approved a $35,000 grant from the foundation that will go toward providing access to mammograms for those who qualify.

It is one of five grants from the foundation awarded recently to organizations that provide health education, screening and treatment to medically underserved residents of the eight-county area served by Susan G. Komen North Texas, according to a press release from the foundation.

Bing Burton, director of the Denton County Health Department, said the funding will help more women have the means for an early diagnosis, which can help make cancer easier to treat. Burton said that for a lot of families, the cost of the test is prohibitive, which leads to many women skipping an important step in preventive health care.

“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.

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, because it depends on the contract the county is able to negotiate for the mammograms.

Once a woman’s eligibility is determined, county health officials will pair her with a provider, and the county will pick up the cost, he said.

The offer is not limited to patients already seen at the county clinic, Burton said, but is for any Denton County woman who is financially eligible and in the group for which a mammogram is recommended.

The funds granted each year from Komen North Texas represent the generosity of sponsors, donors and fundraisers, according to the foundation’s press release. Seventy-five percent of the net proceeds raised by Komen North Texas stays in the North Texas service area and the remaining funds go to the Komen National research grant program, the press release stated.

Since 1991, Komen North Texas has invested $9 million in the North Texas community and $2 million in breast cancer research, according to the press release, raising funds through events like Denton Race for the Cure, scheduled for Sept. 28.

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.

We agree that the Denton County Health Department is an excellent choice as a Komen grant recipient, and we believe that area residents can count on the funding being put to good use. The department has a history of dedication to helping underserved Denton County residents, especially uninsured, low-income families.

We also thank those who helped raise the funds that made the grant possible. Thanks to your generosity, many area women will lead longer, healthier lives.

Events such as Race for the Cure are excellent ways for residents to share resources with those who need a helping hand and encourage more people to seek preventive health care, an important step in reducing overall health care costs.

Women needing more information or to see whether they are eligible can call 940-349-2900.