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Free Mammograms Available To Uninsured Patients

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Kristin McHugh
/
WCBU

The Tazewell County Health Department is partnering with UnityPoint to offer free walk-in mammograms Friday.

Uninsured residents of Tazewell, Peoria, Woodford and Marshall counties can visit any of UnityPoint’s four imaging centers between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Dr. Christine Higginton is with UnityPoint. She says some patients have trouble accessing breast cancer screenings.

“Women that are in rural areas tend to have less access than women that live in cities and suburban areas,” she says. “Also, minorities tend to have less access to mammograms, particularly Hispanic women and African American women.”

As breast cancer screening technology continues to evolve, Higginton says, doctors are able to intervene sooner.

She says the medical field has moved past digital mammograms and onto 3-D imaging.

“That’s like looking at the breast like flipping through pages in a book, rather than looking at it like a picture on the wall,” Higginton says. “That’s really helped find smaller breast cancers and also is very useful in women with dense breasts.”

Higginton recommends starting to discuss mammograms with your doctor at age 40 and doing regular screenings every year or two.

Those who want to take advantage of the free service must provide a copy of their driver's license and last two pay stubs.

Income does not determine whether patients receive a mammogram, but the health department is required to collect that information as part of a grant agreement.

This is the 18th year UnityPoint and Tazewell County have partnered to offer free mammograms.