When 55-year-old Maria was initially seen at one of Wellstar’s Women’s Health Clinics, she had not received a mammogram screening since 2015. The mammogram showed abnormalities that necessitated a biopsy, which revealed she had invasive ductal carcinoma.Her course of treatment resulted in a left breast mastectomy. Fortunately, Maria received high-quality healthcare that she otherwise would not have been able to access, and it resulted in the lifesaving treatment she desperately needed.

Stories of patients like Maria don’t usually have a happy ending. According to Cyrl Kitchens, CEO of Good Samaritan Health Center of Cobb, women from low-income households who are underinsured or uninsured only receive medical treatment when they show up in the emergency department. “Most don’t access hospitals until the situation is acute. It’s not preventative care,”  Kitchens said.

Of the approximately 4,000 patients Good Samaritan treats every year, 88% are uninsured. Good Samaritan Health Center of Cobb is among the partnering community-based health organizations that routinely refer patients to Wellstar’sWomens Health Clinic for screening mammograms and diagnostic services.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for women in Georgia and the leading cause of cancer death for Black women in Georgia. Early detection is critical, and cancers found earlier are more likely to be treated successfully.

Thanks in part to grant funding provided by the National Breast Cancer Foundation and It’s the Journey, Wellstar Women’s Health provides free mammograms and diagnostic services to women within medically underserved populations that face devastating health iniquities, prioritizing African American, Latino, and rural communities.

On average, the Women’s Health voucher program serves approximately 750 – 1,000 women a year through 15 Wellstar sites, of which 90% come through for screenings.

When a mammogram result is flagged for follow-up care, it can be scary and intimidating for patients and their loved ones, so Wellstar created a Comprehensive Breast Health Program to ensure women don’t have to navigate their breast health journey alone. The program offers complimentary concierge services and a team of compassionate experts dedicated to guiding women every step of the way.

If you’d like to support breast health for uninsured minority women, you can make a one-time donation or become a monthly supporter. You can even designate where you’d like your funds to go, investing in the causes and areas that are most important to you. To give, visit wellstar.org/donate.