WCDHD provides free breast exams

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. Community Health Worker for the West Central District Health Department Janet Livingston hopes women will put their health first this Valentine's Day.

"We, women, are very important to our families and sometimes women get busy and don't do the best job of taking care of themselves," Livingston said.

On Monday, the health department provided free breast exam screenings to patients through the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

"I see patients who are going to the ER frequently who can't get healthcare otherwise," said Dr. Emily Jone.

Dr. Jones has partnered with the health department for the past 18 months.

"Probably one of the biggest things is, just because it is not in my family, doesn't mean that I'm going to get breast cancer," said Dr. Jones, "In fact, a lot of times we actually find breast cancer in people that have no family history in cancer."

She says changing that mindset starts with making sure every women gets screened.

"We know that if we can catch things early, it's a lot less invasive as far as surgeries go and they don't have to have chemo or radiation nearly as often," Dr. Jones said.

The department is also offering mammograms at no charge to those who qualify.

"We have people who haven't had mammograms for 15 years or more that are coming in and are getting their mammograms," said Dr. Jones.

"I have some family and friends who have gone through breast cancer and it's such a struggle," said Livingston. "If we can get those women diagnosed early and start treatment early, then the chances of success are higher."

Mammograms and breast exams will be provided through the end of the March.

For more information, call the office at 308-696-1201.