Local Women Receive Life-Saving Tests at NorthPoint Health & Wellness Clinic During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Oct 26, 2011, 14:35 ET from College of American Pathologists

Pathologists, Obstetricians/Gynecologists, Radiologists, and Other Medical Professionals Provide Screening and Same Day Diagnoses and Care through the College of American Pathologists See, Test & Treat™ Program

NORTHFIELD, Ill., Oct. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The lives of nearly 160 local women were changed this month during a See, Test & Treat™ program, a 3-day event hosted by NorthPoint Health & Wellness Clinic in Minneapolis, Minn.  The event, supported by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and the College of American Pathologists Foundation, offered free breast and cervical cancer screening tests to underserved and uninsured women, along with same-day diagnoses and follow-up care, during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  In addition, the women had the opportunity to receive free screening tests for high cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes, as well as health information through an on-site health fair.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20111026/DC94253 )

Isabel Gutierrez-Pineda of Buffalo, Minn., was one of the women who received these life-saving screening tests during the event.  After waiting four years to receive a Pap test and mammogram, Mrs. Gutierrez-Pineda, whose family does not have health insurance, cried tears of joy when she received her test results.

"I felt like an enormous weight had been lifted off my shoulders when I heard I was ok," said Mrs. Gutierrez-Pineda, originally from Mexico.  "Before coming to the See, Test & Treat event, I was living in fear —not knowing whether or not I might have cancer."

During the See, Test & Treat program, pathologists, family physicians, nurse practitioners, obstetrician/gynecologists, radiologists, nurses, and other medical professionals came together to treat the patients. A nurse provided the women with their test results, and each woman had the opportunity to consult privately with a pathologist, a physician who examines cells and tissues to diagnose cancer, including breast and cervical cancer, to discuss their diagnosis and care plan.  For those women who received an abnormal Pap test, coloposcopy services also were offered.   The women with abnormal mammograms were scheduled at a dedicated breast center of their choice for problem solving breast imaging.

"Unfortunately, disparities in cancer screening exist in Minnesota, especially among African American, Hispanic, and Southeast Asian women," said Bradley M. Linzie, MD, FCAP, a pathologist at Hennepin County Medical Center.  "The program is designed to offer early detection and treatment for breast and cervical cancer in an effort to save the lives of local women who might not otherwise have access to these important health screening tests."

To address language and cultural barriers that might otherwise keep women from receiving health care services, NorthPoint offered Somali, Hispanic, Hmong, and Laos language interpreters to assist the women throughout the process.  

"We try to create a safe and welcoming environment for the women to receive these services," said Stella Whitney-West, chief executive officer of NorthPoint.  "Many of our staff and volunteers at the See, Test & Treat event are also members of this community.  We feel this builds a level of trust among the women and attributes to the success of the program."

The CAP and NorthPoint partnered with local health agencies and service organizations, including the Minnesota affiliate for Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the Midwest Division of the American Cancer Society, and SAGE, Minnesota's Cancer Screening Program, to provide resource and health information to women while they waited for their test results.  The women received healthy lifestyle tips, including information on the importance of a low-fat diet, self-breast examination, local childcare services, and financial health care assistance.

In addition, Hologic donated a Thin Prep machine and Pap test supplies.  Local businesses also provided small gifts for all women who participated in the program.

"Through the program, we not only detect breast and cervical cancer, but in many instances learn about other health issues through the discussions with the patients," said Carla Lucas, director of Nursing at NorthPoint.  "We try to offer a program that treats the patient holistically and makes a positive impact in her life, as well as her family's life."

The positive impact was felt throughout the three days, as the women expressed their gratitude for the services and personal attention they received.

"This is a wonderful day.  Everyone is hands on; they hold your hand through everything," said See, Test & Treat patient Paula Rogers, of Minneapolis, Minn.  "The nurse said, 'Do you want to see your results?' then she took me in the room and the pathologist showed me my results. I also got a gift certificate.  It was a wonderful day."

This year marks the sixth See, Test & Treat program at the North Point.  The clinic plans to host the event in October 2012.  The first CAP See, Test & Treat program was held in McLaughlin, S.D., in October 2001.

About the College of American Pathologists
The College of American Pathologists (CAP), celebrating 50 years as the gold standard in laboratory accreditation, is a medical society serving more than 17,000 physician members and the global laboratory community. It is the world's largest association composed exclusively of board-certified pathologists and is the worldwide leader in laboratory quality assurance. The College advocates accountable, high-quality, and cost-effective patient care.

About the CAP Foundation
The CAP Foundation supports patient-centered and humanitarian roles for pathologists, striving to connect people, especially those in need, to the lifesaving skills of pathologists.  The Foundation provides funding for the See, Test & Treat program through the generous support of CAP member pathologists, staff, foundations, industry, and private donations. For more information or to donate, visit foundation.cap.org.

About NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center
NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center is a comprehensive health and human services agency located in North Minneapolis. NorthPoint seeks to reduce health disparities, improve health outcomes, and enhance the overall quality of life for all residents of North Minneapolis by providing high quality medical, dental, and mental health care.

About Susan G. Komen for the Cure
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure® promise: to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures.  The Minnesota Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® —along with those who generously support us with their talent, time and resources—is working to better the lives of those facing breast cancer in our community. We join more than 100,000 breast cancer survivors and activists around the globe as part of the world's largest and most progressive grassroots network fighting breast cancer.

Through events like the Susan G. Komen Twin Cities Race for the Cure®, we have invested over $33 million in local breast health and breast cancer awareness projects in the state of Minnesota. Up to 75 percent of net proceeds generated by the Komen Minnesota Affiliate stay in the state of Minnesota. The remaining income goes to the national Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Grants Program for energizing science to find the cures. Join us by calling 952-746-1760 or visiting us online at www.komenminnesota.org.

SOURCE College of American Pathologists