Catching and curing cancer are two goals of a free breast and cervical cancer screening at Good Shepherd Medical Center this month.

The GSMC Health Information Center and Columbia Basin Hematology & Oncology are hosting the screening from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23. The screening is open to all women ages 18-75 and will include a free breast and cervical exam, information and discussion with local licensed practitioners. Women age 40 and older will be able to schedule an appointment for a free mammogram as well. A Spanish-English translator will be on hand throughout the day, and although the screening is free, appointments are required.

“Cancer can be cured if it’s caught early,” said Mitra Rado, an advanced oncology certified nurse practitioner with CBHO. “Cervical is a very curable cancer, breast cancer as well, if it’s caught early. The goal of this screening is to reduce cancer deaths and long-term consequences of having cancer by catching it as early as possible.”

Physical exams will take place in the CBHO office — Suite E-25 — and information on women’s issues, including other cancers, nutrition and health disease will be on display in the Health Information Office.

“Good Shepherd always wants to make sure that we’re providing needed services in our community, especially for those who are under-served,” GSMC Education Director Juli Gregory said. “We will have information with each display so they can take what they want. We plan to have a healthcare professional and a volunteer here all day so we can help people.”

To complete the screening, Good Shepherd and Columbia Basin Hematology and Oncology are also partnering with Blue Mountain Pathology and Tualatin Imaging to provide the screenings, information and results free to patients.

Women can expect to have Pap smear results in one to two weeks, and mammogram results will be available about one to two weeks after the appointment. The screenings and exam with take about 30 minutes per person, but Rado said women can stay longer.

“We would encourage them to spend as much time as they want because we will have nurses and nurse practitioners here for education and to answer their questions,” she said. “The education is part of the screening, so feel free to spend time asking questions and learning.”

The screening will also allow people to become more familiar with Columbia Basin Hematology & Oncology. Based in Kennewick, CBHO opened an office at Good Shepherd in November of last year. That office is open Wednesdays and Thursdays.

“People should know they really do have expert care close to home,” Rado said. “We have QOPI — Quality Oncology Practice Initiative — Certification, which is a report card we passed.

Rado said she has hosted free screenings in Tri-Cities in the past, but this is the first time she had worked with an event like this at Good Shepherd. The Hermiston event was partially inspired by a community survey conducted by the hospital.

“One of the top things people asked to have in this community was to have cancer treatment here,” Rado said. “Cancer care is not about getting chemotherapy at the end when you already have cancer. It’s about catching the disease early.”

To make an appointment for the free screening, call 541-667-4122.

“Our goal is to screen 50 women during this one-day event,” Rado said. “I think it’s going to be very successful.”

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