Get 'em checked!

by JOSH MCDONALD
Staff Reporter | October 7, 2020 9:49 PM

OSBURN — October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Shoshone Medical Center is making sure that the Silver Valley community has access to every resource possible.

SMC Business Development Coordinator Shayleen Jerome and radiology technician/mammographer Stephanie Martin stopped by the Shoshone News-Press offices for a special interview on the SNP NOW podcast.

Martin and Jerome gave an energetic interview, but it came with some harrowing statistics first.

“Basically, Idaho is not good when it comes to getting their screenings,” Martin said. “We don’t like going to the doctor, but who does? But especially with breast cancer — Shoshone County is one of 10 counties in the state that has late-onset breast cancer.”

That means the cancer appears later in life and tends to be more fatal, especially if regular, annual screenings are not done.

In fact, the state of Idaho is ranked 51 out of 51 (including Washington, D.C.) when it comes to screening numbers, and then Shoshone County is among the bottom 10 in the state.

“So Idaho is the lowest of the low and then Shoshone County is one of the lowest,” Jerome said.

According to Martin, some patients will come for a screening and then she won’t see them again for years.

YEARS.

Martin has also had patients in their 70s come in for their first breast exam.

Jerome believes that the primary reason for this is poverty and education.

“I think in our area we struggle with poverty, situational and generational,” Jerome said. “So what we are seeing is a lack of funds and insurance. Now with Medicaid expansion, that will help, but we don’t have a lot of patients with insurance. I also think it’s a lot of not being educated on what’s available.”

Although breast cancer screenings cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find it early, and the earlier the cancer is detected, the higher the survival rate is.

SMC has added several programs and services over the years to aid in the fight against breast cancer. This includes their 3-D mammography ability, as well as a financial counselor who can help people understand what is available to folks who may not understand the ins and outs of the confusing insurance world.

The hospital also offers various voucher options for women who are in need of assistance in getting their screenings done.

With October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, SMC is hosting its annual "Screening Saturday" later this month and it will feature discounted opportunities for screenings and access to the hospital’s new financial counselor. Nurse Practitioner Teirza Bristow will also be available for private health consultations.

SMC Screening Saturday will be held on Oct. 24, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the hospital in Kellogg.

Space is limited, so call ahead to reserve your spot at 208-784-1384.

To hear the full interview with Shayleen Jerome and Stephanie Martin, check out SNP NOW, the official podcast of the Shoshone New-Press, which is available online at shoshonenewspress.com, Spotify, Buzzsprout, Apple Podcasts, PlayerFM, and on most major podcatchers.