By Beth L. Beck, President and CEO
Dr. Regina Hampton and Beth Beck co-founded Breast Care for Washington to ensure that all women have access to lifesaving breast cancer screening, diagnostics and treatment, regardless of their ability to pay.
Three years ago, outraged over the breast cancer mortality rates found in the Washington DC area, they felt it was important to bring a state-of-the-art breast care facility to the area where the need was great and resources limited. Since opening doors in May 2014, over 2,700 women have received care at our facility in Ward 8 and 25 cases of cancer have been diagnosed.
Every day we are motivated by the women who walk through our door, looking for help with a health issue. They come to us after searching the internet, by word of mouth, or from a referral from another health facility that refuses to see them because of their insurance status. When we connect to a woman with a lump in her breast, who has nowhere to turn, and we are able to provide her with immediate care, information and peace of mind – we know we are definitely in the right business!
As a relative young nonprofit, Breast Care for Washington continues to grow and we have not reached our patient capacity yet. Through the development of our robust community outreach program we are now able to reach more women with critical information about the importance of screening and early detection. We work hard to break down barriers to care including adding non-traditional screening times (weekends and evenings) to make our services as accessible as possible to busy women with competing priorities in their lives. Our vision includes a mobile mammography component in the next few years so that we are able to take care directly to our patients where they live and work.
Breast Cancer is 95% curable if caught early and treated. Women hesitate to get mammograms because of fear, fear of the pain of the procedure as well as fear of something being found. Every day we work to overcome women’s fears by taking the time to explain how mammography works, by creating a warm and friendly environment for medical care, by getting to know our patients and remaining their supporters and advocates over time.
Whether we are working with a woman scared to get her mammogram for the first time or welcoming back a patient for her third annual mammogram with us, seeing the smiles on our patient’s faces makes our day. And we know that the more we encourage women to get their mammograms and make their health a priority, the more lives we will save.