Mammography Screening Comes to Leland
Betty Jackson understands that distance and good health are inextricably linked in the Mississippi Delta. That’s why a new mammography program at the Leland Medical Clinic is so important.
“That’s a ‘plus’ location,” said Betty, 65, a retired administrative assistant for the Leland School District. “Normally I’d have to go to Greenville for a screening, so this is walking distance from my home. And for so many women in this area who don’t have transportation, this is a Godsend.”
More than 1,000 women over 40 in the Leland area now have access to breast cancer screening, thanks to a $200,000 grant from Delta Health Alliance to the Leland clinic. “There is such a need for healthcare services in small communities such as Leland,” said Brooks Ann Gaston with Delta Health Alliance, “This new mammography screening equipment will help save lives and improve the quality of lives in Leland.”
The American Cancer Society recommends that all women over the age of 40 have an annual mammogram. In addition, women at high risk should have a mammogram every year, beginning at age 30. Those with the following risk factors for breast cancer are urged to talk with clinic staff about screenings:
- Family or personal history of breast cancer or cancers of the ovaries, cervix, uterus or colon.
- Certain types of breast lesions of benign tumors.
- No children, or first child after age 35.
- Exposure to radiation before age 30.
- Menstruation starting at or before age 12.
- Menopause beginning after age 55.
- Being overweight.
- Long-term hormone replacement therapy.
Since opening in 2016, the Leland Medical Clinic has become an important community center that is bringing needed care to a region of the country that historically has been underserved when it comes to health services. Housed in the old city hospital, the facility underwent a $1.2 million renovation to offer quality healthcare to residents who might otherwise be forced to travel to see a doctor or nurse practitioner. The renovation was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In addition to the mammogram service, the clinic also offers a “Getting Healthy” program and the Universal Parenting Place (UPP) – a newly renovated wing of the clinic that provides free resources for parents and guardians to build on the emotional well-being of families. The UPP offers a “judgement-free zone” for parents to use with their children, providing access to licensed professional for counseling, information and support for family-related issues and concerns.
“The clinic is becoming more and more important,” Jackson said. “My family uses the clinic for all sorts of illnesses and ailments, and this new mammogram machine means it’s now easier than ever for our community to stay healthy.”
For Betty, the addition of breast cancer screening makes the clinic that much more vital to her community.