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Grant to finance breast cancer program

April 05, 2002|BY MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Armed with a $96,000 grant from the Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, local health care providers believe they may be able to reach out to those women who are most likely to avoid early screening for the disease.

The grant will finance the first year of a two-year program in the Make A Difference Project.

"We are very excited about extending this program into Western Maryland," said Robin Prothro, executive director of the foundation, who was on hand Thursday afternoon at the John R. Marsh Cancer Center at the Robinwood Medical Center.

"The Komen grant money will pay for a full-time outreach worker and a part-time nurse," said Betsy Lang, an oncology counselor at the Marsh Center. Lang will serve as project director.

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Through a collaborative effort of county agencies and organizations, approximately 300 women living in rural areas and 100 minority women will receive breast cancer awareness information and education, free clinical exams in a convenient location, immediate or scheduled transportation for same-day mammograms and followup case management and treatment as necessary.

Quarterly clinics will be held at the H.W. Murphy Community Health Center, the Community Free Clinic, Hancock Health Department, Boonsboro and Smithsburg family practices and at an undetermined site in Sharpsburg, Lang said.

There is a 96 percent cure rate for breast cancer if caught in the early stages, Patty Hanson, director of the Marsh Cancer Center, said.

In addition to the Marsh Cancer Center which is managing the program, the radiology, social service and disease management departments of Washington County Hospital, Antietam Health Services' physician practices and the H.W. Murphy Community Health Center are directly involved.

The hospital collaborated with the Washington County Health Department's breast and cervical cancer program, the Community Free Clinic, Y-ME of Cumberland Valley and Hagerstown's HotSpot Communities Neighborhood improvement program in establishing the early detection program.

The hospital went after the grant last fall after Pam Christoffel, development manager, learned it was available.

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