See, Test & Treat: Powerful preventative and educational tool to combat cancer
Published on Monday, March 27, 2023
By: Jewell Davis, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos By: Melanie Thortis/ UMMC Communications
Chandra D’avy is passionate about helping UMMC’s Cancer Center and Research Institute spread awareness about the vital role See, Test & Treat plays in the lives of women who are underinsured or do not have insurance.
“I met another lady, and if I could have gotten her to sign up, she would have because she is on a limited income, too,” said D’avy. “I think we need this event twice a year.”
D’avy was one of 36 women who travelled to the Jackson Medical Mall to participate in the annual program, which offers free mammograms, cervical and oral screenings to women who qualify. Women received their results the same day.
“My grandmother had cancer, so it had an impact on me because sometimes, cancer can be genetic,” said D’avy. “It is (screening) a necessity for your health. It’s a preventative measure.”
This was Candance Greer’s first time taking part in the event. She had mammograms completed before, but it had been seven years since she had her last screenings. She wants other hard working mothers to know that the time to place your health as a priority is now.
“As a single mom working freelance with no health insurance, this will be a great opportunity to finally get testing done,” said Greer. “Any time there is a free screening available, I want women to take advantage because the sooner you catch it, the better chances of it being treated. It’s all about making sure that you’re okay.”
According to the UMMC’s Cancer Registry, there were 12 breast and 7 cervical cancer patients, who at initial diagnosis, had Stage 4 disease in 2021.
Jimmy Wells, coordinator of the See, Test & Treat effort, emphasizes how early detection for cancer can lessen the progression of the disease or prevention of it.
“Some women do not have access to proper health care or wellness checks due to a lack of insurance or being underinsured, so they depend on us to get screened,” said Wells. “We can detect some cancers early such as breast cancer with mammograms and prevent cervical cancer with recommended Pap testing for early intervention before cancer develops.”
For over 35 years, Wells had the opportunity to engage with hundreds of patients as a dedicated oncology nurse. She knows the hesitation women encounter when visiting the doctor, especially for multiple screenings.
“Women are viewed as more than just a number at the doctor’s office when they attend this event. They are treated like they are royalty,” said Wells. “This is a unique opportunity for women to get tested, receive results and speak to pathologists directly to discuss what their results mean, in the same day.”
Bethany Sabins, nurse practitioner in gynecologic oncology, helps participants understand what their results mean and provides further assistance by aligning them with additional providers for treatment.
“The help we provide to participants does not stop once they receive their results,” said Sabins. “We get our participants plugged into the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BBCP) or federally qualified health centers for treatment or for follow up healthcare assistance
A host of community partners were also on hand to provide health education and continuing health services to participants while they waited for their test results.
Ultimately, the power of prevention lies in the hands of participants, but they must feel empowered through education to combat cancer.
“My goal is to be able to educate these ladies, so they know that certain cancers are preventable by simply getting screened,” said Sabins. “I want to continue educating them so well that they do not become one of our cervical or breast cancer patients. That’s why I’m passionate about this event and continue to take part in it.”