Senior Center, SRH Receive Susan G. Komen Grant

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The Cannon County Senior Center has served as the focal point in the community for 30 years by providing health education, outreach, education, physical fitness, recreation, nutrition screenings, health screenings, information/assistance, telephone reassurance and volunteer opportunities.

Currently, we serve over 800 members, which is 33% of the senior population.  In Cannon County the 60+ population is 17% (2,359) of the overall 13,448.  We offer programs that collaborate with many partners including Stones River Hospital who currently provides a weekly nurse on duty, Health Screening, Sponsorship for Health Fairs, “It’s All About You” support group, and many other programs through out the year.

Our current partnership will be “No Excuses-Get Checked”, which will provide preventative mammograms in order to educate women about the importance of early detection of breast cancer.  When you ask most women what keeps them from obtaining a mammogram, the list of excuses is long.  After speaking with a few women, these are reasons why these women did not have screenings. 

“It hurts.” “I just have not had time.” “I am going to, when I can.”  “I know I should, but it is just not in my budget right now.”  “I did ten years ago, and it was fine.” “I don’t have a family history.” “I don’t feel any lumps, so I don’t need to get checked.” “I can’t afford it.”“I am not at risk.” “I don’t want to know.”  My insurance won’t cover it.”

Chances are those reasons don't hold up, especially when you consider that breast cancer is easier to treat and survive when it's found early, and early detection starts with getting a mammogram.  Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Senator John Edwards, will tell you that you don’t help yourself by not having a regularly scheduled mammogram.

"Had I done the testing I needed to do, the treatment I would have gotten might not have been as aggressive," Edwards said. "You don't save yourself anything" by putting screening off, Edwards said. "It does not change the reality. It only changes your options."

The Cannon County Senior Center and Stones River Hospital will use its $25,000 grant to increase the amount of mammograms performed in Cannon County and throughout the Upper Cumberland counties within a year.  The project would offer mammograms to women 40 years of age or older that do not have insurance or are unable to pay. 

In addition the project would offer to pay the co-pay or deductible of those that are insured and unable to pay the remaining balance.  A concurrent goal is to educate the importance of screenings as well as establish a support system where survivors are matched with the recently diagnosed client as a mentor in order to establish a trusting relationship during treatment.

Through advertisements and community outreach, clients will be recruited and scheduled for mammograms.  Mentors will be recruited and their survivor stories collected, before being matched with recently diagnosed patients as a one on one mentorship program.  These services would be provided within April 2010 and March 2011.  This project would encompass the 14 county Upper Cumberland region. 

The “No Excuses-Get Checked!” project will promote the importance of screening, provide free mammograms, and provide a support system for those recently diagnosed.  The project will offer mammograms to women 40 years of age or older who do not have insurance or are considered self-pay.  The project will pay the co-pay or deductible of those who are insured and unable to pay the remaining balance as well.

Educating women to be proactive about their health, to not avoid preventative screenings, and to follow through with scheduled appointments will be some of the primary goals of this project.  Even though this project will be dedicated to the early detection of breast cancer, recently diagnosed clients will be matched with breast cancer survivors as mentors in order to establish trusting relationships during treatment.

We realize how thin the line is between being a person without cancer and being a person living with cancer. We want to create a project that eliminates the excuses women use to keep from having mammograms.  If you are in need of mammogram, please contact 615-563-5304.
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