OHSU Center For Women's Health Announces Free Health Screening Event: Appointment Line Opens Today

02/23/11  Portland, Ore.

The event is part of a statewide initiative to eradicate cervical cancer mortality.

The Center for Women's Health at Oregon Health & Science University will provide at least 100 free cervical and breast cancer screenings to area women on Friday, Nov. 16, as part of a statewide initiative to promote women's health screenings.

Beginning today, Oct. 1, the center will accept appointments for the free screenings at this phone number: 503 346-1212.

The free health screenings are being offered to promote regular health screenings for women and to provide screening access to women who typically forgo annual breast and cervical screenings. Many breast and cervical cancers outcomes are greatly improved when the cancers are detected early - cervical cancers are virtually treatable when detected soon enough.

Underserved populations are encouraged to participate, but there are no financial or other prerequisites required. Women who are uninsured, underinsured and insured are all eligible. Those who make an appointment will receive a pap test, pelvic exam and a clinical breast exam. Some immediate diagnostic tests, such as mammograms or biopsies, may also be provided. If space and time permits, walk-ins may also receive screenings.

Joanna Cain, M.D., director of the OHSU Center for Women's Health, has seen the effects of cancer firsthand in her practice. "I've seen women as young as 23 with cervical cancer. Some of them never got the messageto be screened every year," she said. "Then, there's the nurse who just put screening off. Some of these women are dying of a virtually preventable cancer, leaving behind young kids and families. Others are under going extensive, expensive radiation and chemotherapy to have a chance of surviving. These patients convinced me that we need to do something differently."

A health fair will also be present at the free screening event, focusing on additional health screenings - such as depression, total cholesterol, non-fasting glucose, body mass index, and hip-waist ratio - and health information pertinent to women throughout many life stages. The event is the first in an intended series of "Free Fridays."

Cain also stresses the event is only part of what will be a broader campaign to eradicate cervical cancer mortality in Oregon, a campaign spearheaded by the OHSU Center for Women's Health and the OHSU Cancer Institute. The campaign aims to promote early detection screenings among all Oregon women - in part by encouraging health systems across the state to address gaps in women's preventive services through initiatives similar to the OHSU "Free Fridays" program.

This program has been made possible through a partnership with women of our community who raised the funds to begin the program, the support of the OHSU Cancer Institute and volunteers from numerous OHSU departments.

To make an appointment for the Nov. 16 "Free Friday," call 503 346-1212.

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Designated as a National Center of Excellence in Women's Health, the OHSU Center for Women's Health is pioneering a new era in women's health care for the state and the region. Through exciting new research, expanding education programs and the creation of meaningful wellness and health care models, the Center for Women's Health is setting the bar for excellence in health care for women.