Indiana Health Centers, Inc. Supports National Breast Cancer Awareness Month



The IHC network urges all women – regardless of the ability to pay – to be screened for breast cancer this month

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (October 21, 2011) – How can many Hoosier women without health insurance get their annual well-woman exams? The answer: community health centers.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this year’s tough economy and high unemployment rates are boosting demand at Indiana Health Centers, Inc., (IHC) locations for women’s health exams. IHC’s statewide community health center network provides primary health care and screenings on a sliding fee scale based on income. 

The Indiana State Department of Health estimates 4,000 women in Indiana are diagnosed annually with breast cancer. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation statistics, African-American and Hispanic women in Indiana are diagnosed with breast cancer at a rate higher than the national average. They are also less likely than Caucasian women to receive regular screenings.

“It’s important for every woman over the age of 40, regardless of her economic situation, to get a routine breast screening every year. As a woman ages, the risk factors for breast cancer increase,” said Dr. Terrence Drake, Chief Medical Officer, Indiana Health Centers, Inc. “Early detection is the key. At IHC, we are committed to making it easy for patients to get an appointment. We encourage women age 40-64 to come in to get their annual well-woman screenings and get an order from their provider for an annual mammogram. At IHC, preventive and acute patient care is available at a sliding fee, calculated on the individuals documented income,” he added. 

Breast cancer warning signs include a lump or thickening in the breast or under the arm, a change in the size, shape, color of the skin on the breast, pain, tenderness or nipple discharge. Staying healthy, keeping a normal weight, doing monthly breast self-exams, getting annual mammograms and physician visits – in short, being proactive is the best way to protect against this disease.

IHC’s Web site provides consumer health information, including a guide for breast self-exams and other breast health tips at www.IndianaHealthOnline/Krames. Patient education is a cornerstone of primary health care. 

Statewide, Indiana Health Center’s network of six locations annually serves more than 60,000 patients, many who are uninsured, underinsured, or unemployed. IHC’s community health centers in South Bend, Marion, Kokomo, Peru, Seymour, and Logansport are open evenings and Saturdays. For locations and directions to the nearest IHC health center, visit www.IndianaHealthOnline. 

About Indiana Health Centers
Beginning services in 1977, as a 501-c-3, Indiana Health Centers serves the medical, dental, and wellness needs of more than 80,000 uninsured, under-insured, unemployed and medically underserved patients in Indiana. As a federally qualified health center network, IHC meets or exceeds all of the federal performance criteria. Indiana Health Centers has six major health clinics statewide–in South Bend, Marion, Kokomo, Seymour, Peru, and Logansport. For decades, Indiana Health Centers has led the state in providing extended hours, bilingual personnel, community-integrated services and field-based programs. It also operates the second largest WIC program (Women, Infants and Children) in Indiana.

Depending on the location, IHC offers medical, dental, social services, eligibility assistance with Medicaid, CHIP and HIP programs, and WIC programs. IHC is funded in part by HRSA grant H80CS00668-10-00 and ISDH CHC grant A70-1-079351 (CHC 515-5). IHC sites offer bilingual staff, lab tests done on site, health education and assistance with medications, prenatal care, preventative and wellness care (immunizations and flu vaccinations).