To the casual observer, a mid-week excursion to Santa Fe by the women of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church may indeed appear to be about exploring the abundance of stores and restaurants.
However, the true focus of the journey concerns saving lives with the early detection of breast cancer. Twenty women have been making their Santa Fe journey for five years combining fellowship with support and comfort as an occasional mammogram returns with potential life-threatening results.
Nancy Crouse, co-organizer of the event, states, “over the years as the ladies have received the frightening news that a spot was found during their mammogram, each returned for a second more detailed scan. Gratefully, each repeated scan has revealed no evidence of breast cancer.”
There was general concern by all women when the United States Preventive Services Task Force announced last year that it had changed its guidelines for mammography and no longer recommends routine screening for women between the ages of 40 and 49. However, the American Cancer Society continues to recommend annual screening using mammography and clinical breast examination for all women beginning at age 40.
“The women of St. Patrick’s Church strongly believe the lifesaving benefits of screening outweigh any potential harm”, says Joan Scott, co-organizer. Surveys of American women show that they are aware of the limitations of mammography and also place a high value on early detection of breast cancer.”
Truth be told, there is an abundance of shopping and eating scheduled between the mammograms for the twenty women of St. Patrick’s Church. Fellowship and our journey are open to any woman in our community as we return next February to continue caring for our health.
Archuleta County women who have no health insurance may contact Susie Kleckner, R.N. who administers the Women’s Wellness Connection at San Juan Basin Health to determine if they qualify for no-cost pap smears and screening mammograms. They must be between the ages of 40-64, have not had a pap or mammogram within the last year and meet set income guidelines.
Contact Susie, 264-2673, for complete details