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Brainerd Lakes Area benefits from two grants for breast cancer prevention and survivors

Awarded by Minnesota Chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Web posted June 16, 2014
The Brainerd Lakes area will benefit from two community grants from the Minnesota Chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The Pink Ribbon Cupboard received $25,000 to continue providing emergency financial assistance to women undergoing breast cancer treatment. The goal is to reduce some of the stress encountered by families after a breast cancer diagnosis, explains Kathy Buxton, a breast cancer survivor who created the cupboard.

The Pink Ribbon Cupboard helps families with non-medical needs, such as gas vouchers for travel to treatment, rent and mortgage payments and help with grocery, telephone and utility bills. It has even replaced a furnace in the middle of winter. Nearly 250 families have been helped since the non-profit project was launched in 2010. For more information, call Pink Ribbon Cupboard Board members Kathy at 218.829.6205, Marian at 218.454.5850 or Sue at 218.829.7254.

A $16,000 grant to Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center will promote free breast cancer screening tests and breast cancer education and awareness to women in need. The hospital is partnering with the Mid-Minnesota Women’s Center Inc., New Pathways and Bridges of Hope. There’s also a focus on increasing screenings among Native American women.

Essentia Health’s focus for the Komen Foundation Grant is to increase knowledge and utilization of the SAGE Program through partnership and collaboration. The Minnesota Department of Health’s Sage Screening Program offers free breast and cervical cancer screenings for women over age 40 who don’t have health insurance, or whose insurance doesn’t cover such costs.

SAGE provides free office visits for breast and cervical exams as well as a screening mammogram and Pap smear. If a screening test detects a problem, SAGE covers many diagnostic services and can often cover treatment.

In 2013 Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Foundation and Cancer Center brought education about breast cancer screening and the SAGE program to more than 6,000 individuals in our community. This helped to contribute to nearly 180 more SAGE appointments in 2013 compared to 2012. Also, 3,000 patients received $5 gas card to offset travel barriers for screening mammograms. This helped to contribute to 900 more mammograms in 2013 compared to 2012.

“The Susan G. Komen for the Cure grants create the opportunity for more women to access the care and screening tests that they need to be healthy,” says Marian Foehrenbacher, the Cancer Center’s manager. “We can reach out to those who are truly in need and save lives by detecting breast cancer early.” This year Essentia Health is facilitating bi-annual events in partnership with three regional organizations directly serving women as risk: Mid-Minnesota Women’s Center, Inc., New Pathways and Bridges of Hope to provide transportation to the Baxter Clinic for a screening event that includes education, a screening mammogram, exam, and refreshments.

They will also partner with Linda Moses, HHA, CMA, Circle of Life Plus Coordinator for Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Public Health Department for a breast screening event in October of 2014 for native American women regarding breast cancer and early detection.

“We sought out new partnerships with organizations serving women and they’re excited about us bringing useful health information and reducing financial barriers to assist women who cannot afford travel, screenings, or side effect management costs,” says Miranda Anderson, Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Foundation Director.

Essentia Health recommends women receive a screening mammogram every year starting at age 40. Call Essentia Health Radiology at 218-828-7646 to schedule an annual mammogram to review with your primary care physician. If you have not started a relationship with a doctor or nurse practitioner view their profiles at essentihealth.org or call 218-828-2880 to select a doctor and schedule an appointment. If cost is a concern, resources are available through the Minnesota SAGE program which pays for an annual physical and mammogram. Call 218.454.5935 to learn whether you are eligible.

See your health care provider if you notice any of these warning signs of breast cancer:
• Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area

• Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast

• Change in the size or shape of the breast

• Dimpling or puckering of the skin

• Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple

• Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast

• Nipple discharge that starts suddenly

• New pain in one spot that does not go away

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