The Englewood Community Care Clinic wants to spread the word, “Feel for lumps. Save your bumps.”
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual educational campaign to raise awareness about the impact of breast cancer. The Englewood Free Clinic, Dollar for Mammograms and RAVE (Radiology Associates of Venice and Englewood) are working together to raise awareness and make the mammogram experience easily accessible for all women.
This past year has posed a challenge to just about every aspect of our lives, from school to work, and adjustments to our lives at home. Breast cancer prevention has taken a back seat to COVID, as clinics and doctors have seen setbacks in screenings and early detection.
“We’ve been closed for a good part of the time for in-person patient visits, so we’ve been relying on Telehealth services,” said Beth Harrison, Secretary and Executive Director of the Englewood Community Care Clinic. “Telehealth services are good but it’s not the same as an in-depth, in-person visit with your physician. We want to make sure no one slips through the cracks.”
The stories are everywhere, people not being able to receive regular annual checkups because of the COVID overload. When they finally get in to receive exams and testing, they find they have advanced cancer.
“We have had that experience, yes,” said Harrison. “And the population we serve is further burdened by the fact that they don’t have health insurance, so that has kept people away from getting regular checkups once a year.”
Harrison encourages people to listen to their bodies and to perform self-exams every month. “So many times we’ve had patients come into the clinic after not seeing a doctor for years and kind of ignoring a symptom. Then low and behold, once they find out about our clinic, they come in to get services, get a mammogram or cancer screening. Then they find out that they have problems, and it just breaks our heart.”
Because early detection could make the difference between life and death, spreading the word is critical, especially during a pandemic.
“Right now it’s easy. People just need to call the clinic and request a Telehealth visit. We will do an eligibility screening for them over the phone and get that mammogram scheduled.”
During the telehealth visit, the physician will write the order for the mammogram. The patient will take the order and either apply to Dollars for Mammograms or take the order directly to RAVE if they want to pay for it themselves. Insurance is accepted.
The Englewood Community Care Clinic and Dollars for Mammograms have been collaborating for 11 years since the opening of the clinic and they want to thank the community for the support.
“It’s been hard. I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” admitted Harrison. “It’s been a difficult time because patients have just not called, or they have not been proactive in getting their health care needs taken care of. Before the pandemic when we were open for inpatient visits, they knew they could just walk in on any Monday or Thursday evening and get care. Now that it’s with Telehealth, it’s more challenging.”
Spreading awareness of early detection and the importance of monthly self-exams is critical in the fight against breast cancer. “And if they are concerned about anything, come see us right away and get a mammogram so we can hopefully cut it off as the pass with early detection.”
For information, The Englewood Community Care Clinic (941) 681-2081. They can found at 6868 San Casa Drive, Englewood, Florida, 34224, website englewoodclinic.org.