October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and here at Northern Nevada HOPES we make strides in the fight against breast cancer each day. Our Women’s Health Navigator, Isabel, uses grant funding to connect uninsured and underinsured patients to breast cancer screenings.

Isabel works with clients to initiate the screening process by setting up appointments with HOPES medical providers to discuss the patient’s care plan. Once the plan is established, Isabel schedules patient mammograms at Renown, Reno Diagnostics Center or St. Mary’s. HOPES facilitated 676 screenings last year.

“Breast cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer in women,” Isabel said. “Our goal at HOPES is to increase the survival rate as high as we can through early detection. Mammogram screening saves lives.”

HOPES also partners with Nevada Health Centers to host the Mammovan, a mobile mammography unit that travels all over the state to provide screens to underserved areas and geographically isolated towns where women might not seek mammography services otherwise. You can learn more about the Mammovan here.

Health organizations have different recommendations for when women should start screening for breast cancer and how often, since false positives for breast cancer can lead to more invasive screenings. Some organizations say women should start screening at age 40 while others recommend women wait until 50. The CDC put together a chart of recommendations to help you get informed.

Considering all the different information, we recommend women at age 40 should talk to their medical providers about the risks and benefits of breast cancer screening, and when they should start getting mammograms.

This service is very important as we are committed to saving lives and creating a world with less cancer. Breast cancer is one of the most common kinds of cancer in women— about 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point in their lives.

Together with the American Cancer Society, we can fight breast cancer and save lives!