PPRM gets help detecting breast, cervical cancers

Filed under: Health Care |

Breast cancer is the No. 1 killer of women between the ages of 40 and 49.

Thanks to a grant from the Colorado Women’s Cancer Control Initiative, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is able to screen low-income women for breast and cervical cancer.

“The program provides screening for breast and cervical cancer free of charge to uninsured low income women 40 to 64 years of age, with an emphasis on women aged 50 to 64. These free services include breast exams, mammograms, Pap tests and pelvic exams, and other selected diagnostic services,” said Dr. Savita Ginde, medical director for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

Established in 1991, CWCCI has screened more than 1.75 million women for the two types of cancer. To qualify for the program, women must meet certain income levels, be uninsured or underinsured, and not have received a pap test within the year.

“Early detection saves lives,” Ginde said “Pap tests can find precancerous cervical abnormalities at an early stage and mammography is the best available method to detect breast cancer in its earliest and most treatable stage — an average of one to three years before a woman can feel a lump.”

To determine whether you qualify for the CWCCI program call (800) 230-PLAN or visit www.pprm.org for the health center nearest you.

Memorial sponsors wine tasting for forensic nurses

Memorial Health System’s forensic nurse examiners are hosting their fifth annual wine tasting and silent auction to help pay for their forensic evidence collection program.

The event is from 5 to 8 p.m. April 20 at the Warehouse.

Wines from Charles Krug and C.K. Mondavi will be featured. All proceeds will be used by the sexual assault/forensic nurse examiner team for education and evidence collection.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The sexual assault/forensic nurse examiner team provided care and treatment to more than 300 victims of sex assault last year, ranging in age from 1 to more than 80. In addition to examining patients who have been raped, the nurses present a variety of community programs aimed at increasing personal safety and reducing interpersonal violence. The Springs program is seen as a model throughout the state and has strong support from educational institutions, law enforcement agencies and health care providers.

The success of the program depends on staff education, which is funded independently through this annual event. In addition to wine and hors d’oeuvres, there will be music, community celebrities, a silent auction and door prizes. Tickets are available in advance for $30 by calling 365-8666 or for $35 at the door.

New program assists soldiers and airmen

TriWest Healthcare Alliance has launched a tool to assist soldiers and airmen returning from Iraq.

The interactive behavior resource map, available at www.triwest.com, allows service members to browse a list of national, local, civilian and military behavior health resourcea. The program provides a fast method to get help and information to soldiers.

“Being a military service or family member can sometimes bring emotional and mental health challenges, requiring support from outside sources,” said Blake Chaffee, TriWest’s vice president of integrated health care services. “In response to this need, TriWest launched this interactive map featuring nearly 150 resources. This is especially useful for military health care beneficiaries in rural communities who otherwise would not have immediate access to behavioral health resources.”

Beneficiaries who need help or know of someone who needs help — emotional support, counseling, financial assistance or other family support — should visit the behavioral health portal which features tools to pinpoint and address common military behavioral health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, substance abuse and other issues. TriWest recently expanded the portal to include a focus on child and adolescent issues, including information about depression, sleep and other behavioral health problems a child or teen might experience as a result of a parent’s military deployment.

TriWest also staffs a crisis hotline at (866) 284-3743, offering assistance 24-hours a day.

Three new vaccines required for children

This January, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment approved three additional vaccinations for children in child care and school settings.

The vaccines are for pneumococcal disease, a second does for chicken pox and for tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis — which is different from the already required shot.

“Pertussis, also called whooping cough, is a highly contagious cough illness that can easily spread from one child to another,” said Joni Reynolds, program manager for the immunization program. “It is critical we protect infants from pertussis. Many infected adolescents and adults may be the primary carriers of this disease.”

Gov. Bill Ritter has made it a priority to increase the rate of childhood immunizations in Colorado. The goal is having 80 percent or more of the state’s children immunized by 2008.

Individuals who do not have health insurance and need to have their children immunizaed can call the Colorado Helpline at (877) 462-2911 to obtain a list of clinics offering free and low-cost immunizations.

Amy Gillentine covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.