Healthy Women’s Program
Women We Have HelpedMartha Vargas
Last March, Martha Vargas saw a flyer posted at the Centers for Family Health announcing an upcoming 'Mammo Day' – a community outreach event sponsored by Community Memorial Healthcare Foundation's Healthy Women's Program. Although she was only 38, something told her to take advantage of the free screening program.
It's a good thing she followed her intuition. The screening revealed she had breast cancer. The mother of 9-year-old daughter, Martha said she didn't realize the severity of her diagnosis at first. "I was very calm. It wasn't until I was going through the process that it hit me. It hit me that I had cancer and I had no symptoms to warn me." With her husband and family by her side, Martha underwent a lumpectomy. She also counted on the doctors and staff at the CMH Breast Center. "They were very professional and answered all my questions. They helped me relax so I didn't worry so much."
Today, Martha is feeling good and her prognosis for a healthy future looks bright. "I'm so thankful and appreciative. If it wasn't for this program, I wouldn't have been able to be diagnosed at an early age and treatment for me would have cost too much. I can't tell you how grateful I am that the program paid for all the services."
One of the many unique features of the Healthy Women's Program is that there is no age criterion. "It's a great opportunity for women who lack insurance, and specifically, younger women. Women are told to get a mammogram at age 40. I'm so happy that I was able to be diagnosed a lot sooner.Tami Leckie
When 31-year-old Adriana Contreras discovered a large lump while showering, she called her doctor at the CMHS Centers for Family Health. Concerned, physicians there quickly referred her to The Breast Center for a diagnostic screening and fur ther evaluation. That's when the uninsured, married Ventura mother of three found out she had invasive ductal breast cancer. Because of the funds raised at the Gold Dust Gala, Adriana was able to receive a mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy and surgical intervention at no cost. "I was worried because I didn't know how I was going to pay for this. Once I found out about the services offered at the center, I was relieved." Amanda's post-surgical treatment has included chemotherapy and radiation, and she's undergoing it all with a positive, grateful spirit. "The doctors and nurses did everything possible to get me the care I needed. Everyone has been so caring. I'm thankful to God that this program was available."
The comprehensive program at The Breast Center located at Community Memorial Hospital can also provide peace of mind when the diagnosis is not cancer. Amanda Gonzales-Van Buren discovered a lump three years ago. The mother of two small children was running her own day care center in Santa Paula and didn't have insurance. Her doctor referred her to surgeon Dr. Jim Woodburn, and it was determined that the lump wasn't cancerous. However, over time the lump grew is size. Worried, Amanda went back to Dr. Woodburn for a follow-up exam, and surgical removal of the infected cyst was recommended. "I knew I couldn't afford thousands of dollars for a surgery," Amanda recalled. "When I found out that the surgery would be covered through the Foundation's program, I went home and my mother and I cried. It was like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It was a miracle." Amanda had surgery this past summer and she feels terrific. "I'm beyond thankful to this day."
When Joanne Azoo was diagnosed with infiltrating ductal breast cancer, she thought she was going to die. Her 43-year-old sister and aunts had already succumbed to the disease. Joanne was referred to The Breast Center at Community Memorial Hospital. The highly trained, all female staff at The Breast Center assured Joanne they would be with her every step of the way. They guided her through her battle with breast cancer with the most technologically sophisticated medical care available in Ventura County.
After a diagnostic mammogram, Joanne had an ultrasound core biopsy to confirm the detection. What followed was a full mastectomy of her right breast and six chemotherapy treatments. Assistant Director of Radiology at The Breast Center, Becky Trevino, urges women to get regular mammograms. "With early detection, we can see things so tiny, so early. It changes the outcome." At The Breast Center, under and uninsured patients, such as Joanne Azoo, can qualify for a free mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy and surgical procedures with aid available from the funds raised at the Gold Dust Gala. Post-surgery and post-chemotherapy, Joanne is upbeat about life and feels great. She is contemplating reconstructive surgery, beginning to focus on a new career and has published a poem. Most importantly, she has been given the opportunity to spend time with her family and her son Brandon.