FRISCO - Breast and cervical cancer can be killers if not detected quickly, and screenings can be expensive.
The Summit Community Care Clinic offers local, low-income women services to identify these illnesses, and it's extending its Super Women's Health Week due to power outages last Monday and Tuesday.
The reproductive health awareness campaign started Feb. 15, and the clinic plans to continue it through Friday to encourage additional appointments. So far, only 15 women have been seen since the campaign kicked off.
According to program spokeswoman Jenniffer Gonzalez, women need to have reproductive and breast screenings every year to prevent cancer, and without insurance this can become quite pricey.
Grants given by the Women's Wellness Connection and Susan G. Komen for the Cure allow the clinic to offer free services to women over 40, so they receive breast and cervical screenings whether they can afford it or not.
"This is an awareness week to draw attention to the services, but women can access it all year," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez added that if a man comes into the clinic with a breast lump, they can get mammogram services too, and it's covered under the Susan G. Komen grant. The care clinic also offers free vasectomies and STD testing, which is charged based on a sliding-fee scale.
The health clinic's ability to provide services such as these has been under stress since its operating revenues decreased almost $200,000 in 2009. This was due to state budget cuts.
"We are doing very well in that we have a wonderful team over here, but it's challenging," said care clinic executive director Sarah Vaine. "Expenses are increasing at a faster rate than our income is. I truly believe that this health care situation is going to get worse before it gets better, so that concerns me. Any community support we can get, we appreciate."
The majority of local health services at the care clinic are available to qualified patients who complete the eligibility process and receive a Care Card. Reproductive-health services don't require the patient to complete the eligibility process.
For more information about the Care Clinic's reproductive health programs and eligibility requirements, call Gonzalez at (970) 668-4057. To make an appointment, call (970) 668-4040. To learn about all of the care clinic's services, visit its website at www.summitclinic.org.
Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.