Planned Parenthood Offers Free Breast and Pelvic Exams in October
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and in an effort to encourage women to develop good breast health habits at a younger age, Planned Parenthood in Salida is offering free breast and pelvic exams during October to women under 40 who are uninsured or have high deductibles.
Traditionally, health care professionals have encouraged women to focus on breast health beginning at age 40 with routine breast exams and mammograms, but it’s equally as important for younger women to consider breast health. “Although breast cancer in women under 40 is relatively rare, the earlier breast masses or abnormalities are identified, the better. That’s why we recommend that women ages 21-39 get a clinical breast exam every 1-3 years as part of an annual exam and encourage them to conduct self breast exams as well,” said Karen Adamson, Planned Parenthood’s Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner.
The free exams are courtesy of a grant that Planned Parenthood received from the Chaffee County Mammography Fund. The organization determined that the best use of the funds was to provide preventative services to women who might not otherwise be able to get them. “In a town like Salida, where so many people’s incomes are seasonal and many jobs don’t offer insurance, we felt it was important to ensure that women who don’t have access to regular care have a chance to get their unique health needs addressed without financial barriers,” said Shelley Schreiner, Manager of the Salida Planned Parenthood Health Center.
The health center has a similar program year round, the Women’s Wellness Connection, which provides free breast and pelvic exams and referrals for mammograms to uninsured women over 40 years old. Planned Parenthood works diligently to not only provide services for these women, but to refer them to insurance options that are affordable, such as Medicaid. The organization will do the same for patients during October, not only providing them with referrals for insurance options, but providing extensive education and resources regarding breast health, particularly around breast self exams. “It’s important to us to not just provide the exam and have that be the end of it,” said Schreiner. “We want to ensure that women continue to have the resources and information they need to continue to make healthy choices into the future.”
Appointments are still available for the exams on Tuesdays and Fridays throughout October. Patients can call 719-539-7291 to set up an appointment or stop by 233 E. 2nd St. in Salida. Typically appointments can be made same day or accommodated on a walk-in basis.