Breast Health Initiative, Houston Methodist

Dr_Angel_Rodriguez.pngFacing a breast cancer diagnosis can be a terrifying experience. Many women are at a loss for where to start, particularly if they are uninsured or underinsured, and are oftentimes too scared of the news they might receive to make an appointment with their physician. With the increase in resources and efforts to raise awareness of breast cancer, patients are finding the courage to face the disease in unlikely places.

Susan G. Komen® Houston is dedicated to making these life-saving services more accessible and available to the men and women who need it most. This year alone, Susan G. Komen® Houston was able to raise $1.9 million in grant funds, which were allocated to 23 local organizations and service providers throughout Houston and the surrounding seven counties. One of these grantees is Houston Methodist, who uses Susan G. Komen® Houston funding to support its Breast Health Initiative.

Dr. Angel Rodriguez, Houston Methodist oncologist and director of its Triple Negative Breast Cancer Clinic, gave an interview on a local radio station, Majic 102.1 FM, about the importance of breast health screening and the range of free services available through Houston Methodist’s program. One listener in particular happened to catch the interview, and was struggling with her own concerns about having breast cancer, as her daughter was currently undergoing treatment and fighting the disease.

Feeling empowered by Dr. Rodriguez’s interview, this listener scheduled an appointment at Denver Harbor Clinic, which is managed by Houston Methodist, to be screened for breast cancer. Through its Breast Health Initiative, Houston Methodist is able to provide comprehensive breast health services, including screening and diagnostics, to an at-risk and underserved population.

Through these Susan G. Komen® Houston funded screening and diagnostic services, this patient discovered that she did in fact have breast cancer, and thanks to the program’s patient navigator, she is now equipped with a plan to monitor her breast health, better understands the hospital system and her treatment plan, and is better prepared to cope with treatment side effects, while having access to support resources and services.

"The Breast Health Initiative and the work done through the Denver Harbor Clinic is crucial in providing life-saving breast health services to a deeply underserved population," says Dr. Rodriguez. " Of the 155 patients we've seen through the program so far, we have been able to diagnose and treat six new cases of breast cancer. That’s one woman with breast cancer identified each month thanks to this program, and the 149 remaining women gain the knowledge to monitor their own breasts, and the comfort in knowing that we are here to help them through any future breast health concerns.”

With the aid of the funding provided by Susan G. Komen® Houston, Houston Methodist is able to offer lifesaving breast health services to those who need it most. From start to finish, Houston Methodist provides its patients with accessible, affordable care, beginning with early detection and education, as seen through its Breast Health Initiative.

“The work Houston Methodist is doing in our Houston community is truly incredible, and we are so thrilled to be supporting the Breast Health Initiative through our grant program,” says Dr. Adriana Higgins, Executive Director of Susan G. Komen® Houston. “Dr. Rodriguez and his dedicated team are helping us bring an end to breast cancer every day, and we look forward to seeing this program grow in the future.”

The grants issued by Susan G. Komen® Houston support local organizations and service providers, like Houston Methodist, that enable uninsured and at-risk men and women across Houston receive the vital screening, treatment and support services they need to battle, and prevent, breast cancer.

“Without the help of funding through organizations like Susan G. Komen® Houston, many of these at risk, uninsured women would still remain without care.  This program allows us to provide women in the Houston community with the knowledge necessary to detect breast cancer early and to prevent breast cancer,” says Dr. Rodriguez.