$140,000 grant brings mammograms to more rural communities

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Health officials say it is critical to get a mammogram starting at the age of 40.

“We can do a lot with breast cancer when we detect it early and screening mammography is the key to doing that,” said Tracy Cothran, associate vice president of Oncology Services and Breast Health Network.

Two new grants totaling $140,000 are bringing care to more women in rural areas who often find mammogram access difficult.

"We may have patients that have to travel an hour plus to get there, which of course equals time away from work, time away from the family,” Cothran said.

The grants went to Texas and Osage counties, which account for a higher rate of deaths related to breast cancer.

“We really used the needs assessment tool in identifying areas in our state that are underserved,” Cothran said.

"Texas County, specifically Guymon, had a really significant need because they had several women who were being diagnosed at later stages and also dying from the disease more often,” Lorna Palmer, executive director for Susan G. Komen Central & Western Oklahoma, said.

The mobile mammogram service will provide 140 screenings in Guymon and another 140 in Pawhuska at no cost.  While this unit is on wheels, experts say it's as high-tech as anything you'd find at a clinic.

“Every image that is done in any of those areas inclusive of a mammography and our mobile coaches is done by 10 experts. Expert radiologists that specialize in breast imaging and early detection of breast cancer,” Cothran said.

Giving convenience to rural Oklahomans needing access to breast healthcare.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation says 48,000 women a year will die from breast cancer. Their goal is to cut that in half by 2026.

That's why they encourage women to be vigilant with those mammograms.

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