OHSU Center for Women's Health Provides Free Pap Tests, Pelvic Exams; Phone Line Opens Sept. 12

09/10/08  Portland, Ore.

The event is part of a Center for Women’s Health initiative to eradicate cervical cancer deaths

The Center for Women’s Health at Oregon Health & Science University will offer more than 100 free cervical cancer screening appointments to women in the Portland metropolitan area on Friday, Oct. 3, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in its third cervical and breast cancer prevention event.

Beginning Friday, Sept. 12, at 9 a.m., women can make an appointment for a free screening by calling 503 346-1212.

This event aims to promote regular health screenings for women and to provide access to those who have experienced barriers to receiving a Pap test. A Pap test detects small changes in the cervix. Usually these small changes, also known as abnormal cells, are not cancerous, but may develop into cervical cancer if left untreated. Many cervical cancer outcomes are greatly improved when the cancer is detected early.

In addition to screenings, the center will host a free health fair focusing on additional health screenings, including depression, blood pressure, diabetes risk-factor assessment, body mass index, bone density and hip-waist ratio, as well as health information pertinent to women throughout many life stages.

Women who have experienced barriers to receiving a Pap test are especially encouraged to participate, but there are no financial or other prerequisites required. Those who make an appointment will receive a Pap test, pelvic exam and clinical breast exam. There will be very limited walk-in availability; appointments are highly encouraged.

Nearly 200 women have received free Pap tests and other health screening services through the OHSU Center for Women’s Health free screening events, the first of which occurred in November 2007. Women from all over Oregon and southwest Washington have attended the events – some women drove more than 100 miles to receive the free screening.

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 Center for Women’s Health free health screening events.

This program has been made possible through a partnership with community members who raised the funds to begin the program, the support of the OHSU Cancer Institute and volunteers from numerous OHSU departments. The campaign arose from an idea shared by Joanna Cain, M.D., the former director of the OHSU Center for Women’s Health and Anne Nedrow, M.D., director of Women’s Primary Care at the OHSU Center for Women’s Health.

To make an appointment for the Oct. 3 "Free Friday," call 503 346-1212 after 9 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 12. For more information on donations and volunteer opportunities, visit www.ohsuwomenshealth.com.

About the Center for Women’s Health

On a day-to-day basis, the OHSU Center for Women's Health is fundamentally changing the health care experience for women by bringing together outstanding clinical care, cutting-edge research and innovative patient and community education in one vibrant location.

The center has been awarded the designation as a National Center of Excellence for women's health by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is one of only 21 institutions in the country to earn this distinction, and the only institution in the Pacific Northwest.

About OHSU

Oregon Health & Science University is the state’s only health and research university, and only academic health center. As Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government), OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves more than 184,000 patients, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,900 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to each county in the state.