Healthy Women’s Program
Breast and cervical cancer have touched the lives of many people. Early detection and awareness is the key in the battle against these life-threatening diseases, yet many women who are uninsured, under-insured or lack access to funds can not afford to pay for these services.
Through funds raised by Community Memorial Healthcare Foundation’s annual Gold Dust Gala along with the generous support of the Wallis Foundation, Community Memorial Health System is able to offer breast cancer screening and treatment, and cervical cancer screening and vaccine to women in our community who lack access to pay for these life-saving exams.
In 2013, an estimated 234,580 new cases of breast cancer occurred in the United States. This is an alarming number, yet through the funds raised at the Gold Dust Galas, we have been actively taking care of women in our community who lack access to life-saving tests and treatments to combat this disease. Last year, 221 women received breast care treatments ranging from mammography exams to biopsies and surgical interventions at the Breast Center at Community Memorial Hospital. We are very proud to help these individuals because without access to our program, many of these women would have few other options. In fact, our unique program is the only one in the county that offers these treatments to women under the age of 40.
Each year 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States. Cervical cancer continues to be the second most common type of cancer in women worldwide after breast cancer.
Cancer of the cervix is almost always caused by the human papilloma virus, commonly known as HPV. It is estimated that at any given time 20-40 million Americans are infected with HPV. The good news is that most cases of cervical cancer can be prevented through early detection and treatment, and through funds raised at this year’s Gold Dust Gala we are excited to expand our services to women in need in this particular area.
Last year through our Centers for Family Health clinics located throughout western Ventura County, 35 women qualified to receive free Papanicolaou test (Pap smear). The Pap test can identify abnormal or pre-cancerous changes in the cervix so that they can be removed before cancer develops. In addition, the HPV vaccine treatment series, Gardasil, will be available. This vaccine series protects against 4 strains of HPV (6, 11, 16, 18) that are responsible for approximately 70% of cervical cancers.