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Free health care event for women provides access to wide array of potentially lifesaving screenings

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Free health care event for women provides access to wide array of potentially lifesaving screenings

NORTON, Va. – An innovative partnership among health care organizations recently provided women in the region with free access to a broad spectrum of screenings that have the potential to prevent illness and disease and save their lives.

Pictured at right: Dr. Theresa Emory, in back, discusses Pap tests and normal and abnormal cells with medical residents during See, Test & Treat.

Wellmont Health System and Mountain States Health Alliance partnered with the College of American Pathologists Foundation to host See, Test & Treat® Saturday, Aug. 5, at Norton Community Hospital. The daylong event featured mammograms; Pap tests; breast, cervical and skin examinations; and bone density tests.

See, Test & Treat also offered lab work, vital signs checks and valuable education from local and national organizations, including the Prevent Cancer Foundation, on subjects ranging from cancer and heart disease to diabetes and nutrition.

In all, the event provided 300 encounters for 44 women from a multidisciplinary team of medical professionals. With pathologists, radiologists and other physicians available to review the tests, women received same-day results on many screenings. Physicians have so far discovered about 30 percent of these patients had abnormalities that will require follow-up care.

“This was a highly successful event that comforted many women and allowed them to receive potentially lifesaving examinations and tests in a highly dignified environment,” said Theresa Emory, M.D., a pathologist who used to practice in the region and sits on the foundation’s board of directors. "Each patient had a nurse escort her through the program, and all abnormal results were explained by a specialist physician who ensured follow-up care would be available through Wellmont or Mountain States."

The event was primarily designed to assist women from Southwest Virginia, but others attended as well. Those who came saw the value and expressed appreciation to organizers for providing access to these life-affirming services. They noted the friendliness and knowledge of everyone involved in the event.

Susan Baker received her first mammogram at See, Test & Treat and decided to share her story so other women who might be reluctant to have this screening will be less fearful. She understands the feeling because she held similar emotions that caused her to delay seeking a mammogram.

“The test is not that hard,” said Baker, a Lee County resident. “The horror stories women might have heard about mammograms from years past need to understand that’s not the way they are. It just took a second and wasn’t that painful. To protect your life and to keep yourself well for your children, your family and yourself, take the test.”

Baker received the news she hoped to hear – her mammogram showed no abnormalities – and she celebrated by hugging Dr. Emory.

“I thank God for that blessing because now I can spend time fully with my son and know that we’ll have that much more time together,” she said. “For the ladies who might not have received the results they wanted, I’ll be praying that they will at least get the help that they need.”

Sandi Smith, who lives in Bristol, Tennessee, said it was important to participate in See, Test & Treat to protect her health. After completing her screenings, she learned she had no abnormal results.

“Knowledge is power, and early detection is the way to prevent things from getting worse,” she said. “I usually take care of everybody else. – my mom, my dad, my aunts, my uncles, my kids, my husband, my animals – and then me. This time, I put me first. I want to be around for my grandkids.”

Reflecting on the time she spent at the event, Smith said See, Test & Treat was extremely informative about the ways people can harm their health.

“When you see what smoking and sugar do to your body, it’s like taking a wake-up pill,” Smith said. “It’s important to do everything you can to get healthy and stay healthy.”

For more information about See, Test & Treat, please visit http://foundation.cap.org.

Dr. Theresa Emory, in back, discusses Pap tests and normal and abnormal cells with medical residents during See, Test & Treat.

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