TVHC Increases Breast Cancer Screening Numbers
October 28, 2021
This year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month coincides with Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center (TVHC) making great strides towards increasing the screening rate among women in communities who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
Despite the pandemic bringing on a dramatically low breast cancer screening rate, both locally and nationwide, TVHC has steadily increased its screening rate over the past year to 40 percent, with the goal of reaching an 80 percent screening rate in the near future.
“With mammograms, we’ve been talking to women and encouraging them to get it,” says Suzanne Seger, Assistant Director to OBGYN. “Particularly after they get vaccinated, that’s why with phone consults or in-person consults, it’s been easy to keep our eye on that issue.”
TVHC has been proactive in referring women to get screened — with the Adult Medicine and Women’s Health providers helping cultivate trust within women in the community, reaching out for follow-ups and referrals, and stressing the importance of not missing the screening.
TVHC is also seeking to further streamline the process of ensuring patients’ on-time checkups through developing a specialized dashboard to be implemented through the Well app, where patients can find out what healthcare items they’re due for — centralizing the process and automating patients’ data.
In early 2022, TVHC also has plans to bring back the Mammo Van. This mobile mammography exam room had previously screened over 250 women in 2019 but was unfortunately temporarily halted due to the pandemic.
The Mammo Van provides much faster service to patients, taking only 10-15 minutes compared to a stand-alone appointment which takes up to an hour. It also helps those without transportation get screened without having to leave their neighborhood.
TVHC is expecting to further increase screening rates in 2022 with the implementation of its; Every Woman Counts site, made possible by a statewide fund that covers cervical and breast cancer screenings for patients at no cost.
“TVHC is about healthcare access and equity,” says Seger. “We know that women in our own community are more likely to have a worse outcome from breast cancer and anything that we can do as providers to spotlight and encourage women to get mammograms is going to help with access and equity.”
Stay tuned for more updates on TVHC’s efforts to increase Breast Cancer Screening.