Helping underserved women gain access to mammograms and, if necessary, treatment for breast cancer hits close to home for Anita McEntire. She is a Breast Health Navigator at Jefferson Regional Medical Center who also has had to navigate through the journey of breast cancer in her own life.
“I’m a five-year breast cancer survivor myself,” says Anita. “I was an uninsured mother of three, and it was a struggle. I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I’ve been through.”
Anita uses her personal experience to guide her as the Program Director of the Breast Health Awareness and Screening Program at Jefferson Regional. To promote breast health awareness and the early detection of breast cancer, this program provides comprehensive breast health education, screening and support for underserved, uninsured women in rural Jefferson, Perry, Ste. Genevieve and Washington counties.
“We provide clinical breast exams, diagnostic testing, imaging services, breast ultrasounds and biopsies for our patients,” says Anita.
Funding from Komen St. Louis makes these services available for women in need. This is the ninth year of Komen St. Louis funding for this program.
In just the last six months, the program has served more than 100 women. This accomplishment is evidence that women are in need of such a support system, to help with everything from screening mammograms, which aid in the early detection of breast cancer, to treatment after a breast cancer diagnosis. The program’s resources, combined with her own breast cancer experience, assist Anita in reaching women in rural southeastern Missouri.
“Our mission is in alignment with Komen’s mission,” says Anita. “We make sure women have access to breast health services.”
In 2012, Komen St. Louis granted nearly $3.1 million to 25 local breast health programs in our 17-county Missouri/Illinois service area, including Jefferson Regional Medical Center’s Breast Health Awareness and Screening Program for Women in Rural Southeastern Missouri. These grants help fund breast health and breast cancer screening, treatment, education and support services for those in our community who otherwise may not have access due to low income, lack of insurance or other barriers.