Knowing early prevention is worth a pound of cure, several local groups are working together to ensure cancer screening services are accessible for everyone regardless of their financial or insurance status.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office and Lampasas County Health and Wellness Partnership have teamed up to offer the county’s first Friend to Friend event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday at Spring Oaks Nursing Home, 901 Central Texas Expressway, Lampasas.

“This will be the first time for this event in Lampasas County,” AgriLife Extension Agent Karen deZarn said. “This event came to us through a specialist in our San Angelo district office who helps with cancer awareness programs. It was our turn to hold the event here.”

DeZarn described the two-hour event as an informational meeting where people share the importance of early detection and receive sign up information on how to qualify for a free mammogram or pap test if they don’t have insurance. Door prizes and snacks will also be available.

“The meeting is open to anyone, but we also focus on helping those who don’t have insurance to learn how they can receive cancer screenings with doctors associated with the event,” deZarn said. “And they can also learn how to receive transportation to and from their appointments.”

Metroplex and Rollins Brook Hospitals are also offering discount mammograms during October in conjunction with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The mammograms are $150 through the end of October for women age 40 and older. If screening mammograms detect any areas of concern, Metroplex also offers breast ultrasound and breast MRI studies. A separate fee applies if follow-up diagnostics are needed.

“We hope the discounted price will encourage women to have a preventative screening as part of an annual checkup,” said Randy Hill, Metroplex director of imaging services. “Mammograms help detect tumors early, even before a woman experiences any signs or symptoms.”

The offer does not include previously diagnosed follow-up readings. Women with soreness or lumps should contact their primary care provider.

Appointments can be scheduled by calling Metroplex at 254-519-8500 or Rollins Brook at 512-556-9627.

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