Health department recognizes support of Komen foundation

LISBON -More than 7,000 women have utilized the Columbiana County Health Department for breast cancer screening through the years.

On Tuesday the room where the mammogram machine is located was officially dedicated the Suzy Room, after years of support from the Susan G. Komen Foundation and others.

While other health departments might have a fancy mammogram suite, the health department believes in keeping things simple and giving everyone in the county access of the lifesaving test.

“We’re a lot more comfortable with the Suzy Room than we would be with a suite,” said the county’s nurse, Barbara Knee.

Health Commissioner Wesley Vins points out the health department’s mammogram room shows it is possible to do more with less, providing the service of early detection which is the key to cancer survival.

Some of the women in attendance at the dedication know that importance all too well. Three women were honored as survivors. They utilized the mammogram services at the health department, where their cancer was found.

“If it wasn’t for this I wouldn’t be alive,” said Rosa Cress of Columbiana, a 13-year cancer survivor. “I encourage people to come here.”

Cress said her cancer was found early by the screening and she underwent surgery, but did not require chemotherapy to beat her breast cancer.

Another one of the survivors, Lucy Ward, came to utilize the services here from Stark County.

“There’s just so much love here,” Ward said.

Vins said it’s about knowing the patients here in Columbiana County and knowing what makes them comfortable.

Sean Shacklett, executive director of Susan G. Komen of Northeast Ohio, agreed. His organization helps provide funding and works with health departments in 22 counties.

Shacklett said it does not matter if there is state-of-the-art cancer detection equipment available in Cleveland for instance, if the patient does not feel comfortable there or have the transportation to get there, it will go unutilized. The region served by the Northeast Ohio District includes counties with unlimited resources and counties with high poverty, both urban and rural.

“We want to do more than just provide grant money,” said Shacklett. “We want to work together to help create a safety net.”

The health department earlier this month received a check from the Susan G. Komen Foundation for $33,800. The mammography cancer detection department at the County Health Department is able to provide free or reduced cost mammograms for those without health insurance.