Free Breast Cancer Screenings for San Diego Women
October 12, 2017
By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña
Three months before her yearly mammogram exam, Olga Cardona performed an at home breast exam and found a lump.
A biopsy confirmed that she had stage two breast cancer, which according to the National
Breast Cancer Foundation, means the breast cancer is growing but is contained in the breast or has extended only to nearby lymph nodes.
“For me it was very,” Cardona said and pauses to sigh. “I’m not going to tell you it was a shock because that’s not the word. It was like being sentenced, like someone tells you, your life is going to change and it is not going to be the same.”
Cardona is a breast cancer survivor and now more than six years after her diagnoses, she actively encourages women to educate themselves on getting routine breast exams and learn about their health needs.
According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and in San Diego, six women a day are diagnosed and one woman a day passes away from the disease, according to Susan G. Komen San Diego.
Program Manager for the San Ysidro Health Center Maria Sanchez said access is a huge barrier to getting routine breast exams because of transportation barriers or because people do not want to call for an appointment and have to deal with an automated voice message.
To address those obstacles in San Diego communities, Susan G. Komen San Diego is offering free mammogram screenings in partnership with Northgate Gonzalez Markets, San Ysidro Health Center, Every Woman Counts, and Community Health Imaging Centers.
To kick off Breast Cancer Awareness month, free screenings were offered on Friday, Oct 6, at the Northgate Gonzalez Markets on 43rd street.
“A lot of people will be seeing pink all around their communities lots of pink ribbons, pink shirts, but we want people to know that it’s more than just being pink and that you really need to come out and get screened,” Shaina Gross president and CEO of Susan G. Komen San Diego said.
Upcoming free screenings will be on Friday, Oct. 13, at Northgate Gonzalez Market on University Avenue and Friday, Oct. 27, at Northgate Gonzalez Market on Coronado Avenue from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Women at the event entered the San Ysidro Health Center mobile units and received a clinical breast exam to check for lumps and afterwards they received the mammogram in the Susan G. Komen mobile unit.
Last year, over 1,600 Latina women were screened and 1,000 Latina women were provided education on breast cancer, Gross said.
Northgate Gonzalez Markets will be donating a percentage from the sales of tortillas, water bottles and bread rolls with the goal of raising $100,000, according to Robert Ascencio store director of Northgate Gonzalez Markets.
To reserve a screening spot at upcoming events those interested can call 619-662-4199.