Discounted mammogram program proves its worth

By DARLENE PRINCE prince@crescent-news.com Published:

A local hospital program that encourages women who do not have health insurance to get a discounted mammogram for $25 proved to be godsend for an area woman.

Kim Holmes, 40, of Delta, was able to take advantage of the program offered by ProMedica Defiance Regional Hospital and get a $25 mammogram that discovered two tumors in one of her breasts.

Speaking about her experience, Holmes said, "When I lost my job and my health insurance, I thought that this was my chance to become a nurse. I always wanted to go back to school." She is studying to be a nurse at Northwest State Community College.

"I usually get yearly mammograms, but I had not had any health issues," she said. "I was going to get a mammogram in January (2010), but with no insurance, I decided not to.

"Then, I heard that the Defiance regional hospital was offering mammograms for $25 for women with no insurance," she continued. "I took advantage of it, not thinking anything would come of it.

"Three weeks later, I received a letter saying there was an issue and I needed further testing.

"I thought I might have breast cancer," she said.

"I thought, 'How can I pay for more testing?' I decided I would call Matt Gilroy and see if the (Defiance Regional Medical) Foundation would pick up some of the cost of the tests I needed to get.

"When I heard that they had extra funds and they would help me, it was a huge relief," she said.

"I had further testing done with a mammogram and an ultrasound and then I went back for a breast biopsy. They discovered I had two tumors in one breast. One of them was a rare, phyllodes tumor. But the tumors were both benign."

Holmes was diagnosed as having fibrocystic breast disease or FBD in one tumor, with the other tumor being the phyllodes tumor. While FBD is a common condition for many women and is usually benign, there are 5 percent of FBD cases that may involve the type of changes that would be considered a risk factor for developing breast cancer.

"They told me I had the rare type of phyllodes tumor that grows very rapidly and if you let it go, it can get huge," she said. "And, also, there still might be a slight chance of cancer.

"I decided to have surgery in December last year," she said. "The foundation picked up over $9,000 and I am paying a little over $2,000.

"I thought the care at the Defiance Regional Hospital was exceptional," she said. "Matt Gilroy and the others were so understanding. And Christy (Alvarado), the mammogram technician, was so gentle, so very careful. What a sweetheart she is!

"If my story can help get the word out that Defiance regional hospital offers a $25 mammogram, then I am pleased to help. It was a very scary ordeal and makes me think with so much more compassion of all the women that weren't so lucky."

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