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Early detection of breast cancer is key

The Dignity Health Community Wellness Program mammogram bus will make its way to Wasco on Sunday, April 30. It will be an opportunity for women to have a breast exam with the goal of detecting cancer early and saving lives.

Angelica Montano is the supervisor for health education. She said the only criteria are that a woman must be over 40 years old, have been at least 12 months since the last mammogram, and have no health insurance or Medi-Cal.

The exam is easy, and the only restriction is that a woman should not wear lotion or deodorant before the exam.

The results will be mailed in about three weeks, and the first 25 women to schedule and make their appointment will receive a complimentary spa gift basket.

"We expect at least 25, but in the past, we screened up to 40 women in one day," Montano said, with a reminder that a woman should have a mammogram at age 40.

"A doctor will let you know if you need to do it once or every two years based on the results of the first mammogram."

Montano encourages women to get tested.

"Don't be afraid or nervous. Sometimes it's okay, but that should not stop you from getting your annual screening. It could save your life. Early detection is key for survival."

The mission of Dignity Health is to serve the poor and underserved, she said.

"We want to make sure we reach out to them. There have been a lot of women that have not gotten their mammograms because of no time or health insurance. We want to make sure we are providing them with what they need. Unfortunately, some go without it for a long time."

She said the events are held on the weekend so more women can be screened and take advantage of the opportunity.

The screenings will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Wasco Recreation and Parks District, 1280 Poplar Ave. An appointment is required and can be made by calling or texting 661-323-3238.

Dignity Health also provides health education throughout the year.

"We offer one-time classes on diabetes, asthma and nutrition. We will go to schools or places like apartment buildings where they have community rooms."

A special asthma outreach program is available to those ages 6 and above for people with or without Medi-Cal.

The program consists of three home visits. The first one is a home assessment, where they go and talk about possible asthma triggers that can occur at home.

"We educate them on how to lower or eliminate those triggers," she explained

The other two other visits involve education to talk about medication, major symptoms, what causes asthma and to answer any questions they may have. These two visits take about an hour and can occur over Zoom.

Through the program, participants receive an air purifier if they need one to clean the air and help them sleep better. A hygrometer that measures humidity in the home is also provided.

They also make available a bucket with nontoxic cleaning products so they can clean without bleach and other chemicals that affect people with asthma.

Everything is included with enrollment.

For more information about the asthma management program, call 661-323-3238.


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