HELENA — According to the Department of Health and Human Services every year roughly 5,600 Montanan’s are diagnosed with cancer, with 1,900 Montanans die on average from cancer, but with proper screenings and annual exams it can be noticed before it is too late.
In the same report, from 2009-2013 cancer was the second leading cause of death for Indigenous people in Montana. 262 Indigenous people are diagnosed with cancer and 80 deaths result from cancer every year.
“Its important right now, given that with the pandemic, I think a lot of people have put off doing some of the regular screenings, so we are up and running,” said Jennifer Brunsdon, Medical Director of Leo Pocha Memorial Clinic.
Brunsdon says now more than ever it is important for women to get their annual exam to check for breast and cervical cancer.
According to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force women aged 50 to 74 should have their mammogram every 2 years, and women aged 21 to 29 should get a pap smear every 3 years and women aged 30 to 65 should every 5 years.
The Leo Pocha Memorial Clinic is giving women a little encouragement by offering an incentive for every mammogram, pap smear and annual screening during the month of July.
“We have some nice door prizes and prizes that we're offering just as an extra little incentive to do that,” said Brunsdon.
You could win an eighth-generation indigenous blanket, a gift certificate to capital sports or even a spa day at Her Alibi Salon.
For women who don't have insurance, the clinic says they can still help with care
“We are open to all. We have some really nice sliding scale programs for people who are uninsured or underinsured and we also work with the State Breast and Cervical health program and depending on income level that, that can mean that people can get enough free pap and mammogram and treatment of any of that,” said Brunsdon.
To sign up for your annual exam you can schedule an appointment by calling 406-449-5796.