The key to fighting breast cancer is finding the disease first. Self checks and mammograms are the two ways to do that. Navarro Regional Hospital participates in the Moncrief Institute program at UT Southwestern. It’s a non-profit venture that is helping women get those much needed mammograms.

Once a month on Thursdays, Navarro Regional Hospital is full of patients, mostly women, getting those needed exams for free.

“The Moncrief program helps women get exams, screenings and follow up visits if necessary,” said Anna Paul, Director of Marketing for the hospital.

Melissa Moreno, the Community Outreach Liaison for Moncrief, knows that it’s not easy for all women to take off work and then drive to a bigger city for screenings. “We’re in 35 counties providing these services. That way, women can stay in the communities they live in.”

Paul said there is also a “Groupon” type of program that can also give patients the opportunity to spend less. “MD Save lets women pay cash prices for services. “ One example of how MD Save works; when the hospital was able to offer mammograms this past month for only $99.

Susan Jennings, a Mammography Technologist at Navarro Regional, sees many of the women who come through for mammograms. “Sometimes it’s hard when they are crying. I tear up with them. I imagine this is how my mother felt when she had breast cancer.”

Jennings career path was influenced by her own mother’s battle with the disease. Jennings was in x-ray school when her mom was diagnosed. She said she’s been doing it ever since.

“Being able to help save these ladies’ lives, it’s why I do it,” said Jennings.

Adrian Larson, Navarro Regional’s Assistant CEO, believes that for anyone seeking out detection services locally, there is a benefit, “Anyone can come here and get the same services but probably faster.”

Navarro Regional has been a part of the Moncrief program for about two years now. While they typically set aside one Thursday a month to see as many patients as possible, they know not everyone can make it in on that day. The hospital will try and accommodate more patients for the free mammograms. Call the hospital for details.

The American Cancer Society suggests women over 40 get a mammogram every year. The next Moncrief Day at Navarro Regional will be Thursday, November 16th. For those interested in free mammograms, you must be over the age of 35 and have had your last mammogram over a year ago . They will ask questions about your family’s medical history and will qualify patients based on income questions. Anyone intersted may reach the Moncrief Institute by calling 1-800-405-7739.

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