Taking care of yourself can sometimes be a challenge. Add time, money, and insurance on top of that, and for many women getting an annual breast exam can seem insurmountable. The NWI Breast Care Center at Methodist Hospitals is making sure that every woman has the access they need.
Since 2013, The NWI Breast Care Center at Methodist Hospital and the Chicago Bears have been teaming up to carry out this mission. As a recipient of the Bears Care Grant, NWI Breast Care Center provides free services to qualifying women throughout the Region.
Working to empower women throughout Chicagoland, Methodist Hospital is the sole NWI recipient of this important grant.
“We are the only Northwest Indiana partner that the Bears have,” Jennifer Sanders, manager of the NWI Breast Care Center at Methodist Hospitals, said. “The Bears Care Grant is the charitable arm of the Chicago Bears. They cover all types of programs with around 20 to 30 recipients.”
“This grant, since 2013 has been used to supply screening and diagnostic mammograms to women in our community who are both uninsured or underinsured,” Dr. Anastasia Siatras, Radiologist and lead physician at the NWI Breast Care Center said. “This service allows women to continue to get these very important and life-saving screening examinations.”
Founded in 1995, the Bears Care Foundation was established to support disadvantaged populations throughout Chicagoland. According to its website, they have given away over $25 million dollars to over 100 agencies since 2006.
A clear choice for this organization, the NWI Breast Care Center lives its mission daily.
“Only 52% of women are being screened in Lake County and 57% of women in Porter County are being screened with mammograms currently,” Sanders said.
This disparity in screening is something the entire team at Methodist rallies behind.
“We have just a large population of women in Lake and Porter County who do not get screening mammograms,” Siatras said. “A lot of those reasons tend to be socio-economic. It could be a lack of education, but we have a low screening rate and a high mortality rate. It is our goal to screen as many women as possible because mammography has been shown to be the gold standard in early breast cancer detection. Our job is to try to find breast cancer at its earliest stages–which will then give women a 99% survival rate.”
To attain this goal, NWI Breast Care Center goes above and beyond to publicize its services.
“I do a lot of outreach,” Sanders said. “I go into banks, universities, and schools to provide breast education. There are so many women out there who are passionate about this disease, so I'm able to get the outreach out that way.”
Driven by passion, Sanders, Siatras, and their team know that their work can save lives.
“I have the information,” Sanders said. “If I can save someone's life with that information, then I'm sharing it and I'm going to share it with a passion so that you understand just how important it is. We feel like if I can just help you understand some very basic breast health information, you're gonna be able to save your life and you're going to be able to save someone else's life.”
To learn more about the NWI Breast Care Center at Methodist Hospitals, please visit its website or call its office at (219) 981-5440.
To support the Bears Care Grant and Methodist Hospital’s NWI Breast Care Center, readers can purchase a “Real Bears Fans Wear Pink” shirt. All proceeds go directly to the Bears Care Foundation.