North Country HealthCare awarded $45,000 grant

Program will promote well woman care

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund has awarded a $45,000 one-year grant to North Country HealthCare to increase awareness of the life-saving benefits of early detection of breast cancer. It is the 10th year that the program has received funding from the Avon Foundation for Women to support its work on this important health issue, and in recognition of the excellence of the program.

The Well Woman HealthCheck Program at North Country HealthCare educates women in Coconino and Navajo counties and refers them free mammograms and clinical breast exams in their own communities. The vital program also assists qualifying women with follow-up care and treatment.

Since 1998, the Well Woman HealthCheck Program at North Country HealthCare has reached more than 17,000 women with information about the importance of early detection of breast cancer and has referred more than 7,500 women for mammograms and clinical breast exams.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the U.S., and the leading single cause of death overall in women between the ages of 40-55. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 3,470 new cases of breast cancer were detected in Arizona in 2009 and 740 lives were lost. Nationwide, there is a new diagnosis every three minutes and a death from breast cancer every fourteen minutes. While advances have been made in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure, early detection still affords the best opportunity for successful treatment. Programs such as the Well Woman HealthCheck Program help ensure that all women have access to early detection information and options, even poor and medically underserved women.

"Early detection increases the likelihood of successful treatment," said Elizabeth Markona, Well Woman HealthCheck Program Coordinator at North Country HealthCare.

"The Well Woman HealthCheck Program educates women about the importance of routine screening and offers free screening services to qualifying women. We are very grateful that the Avon Foundation shares our mission and has chosen to support our program. With these funds we will be able to reach more women in Coconino and Navajo Counties, including the more remote areas, providing free screening and education."

Since 1993, the Avon Foundation has awarded more than 1,300 grants to community-based breast health programs across the United States, including the Well Woman HealthCheck Program at North Country HealthCare. These programs are dedicated to educating underserved women about breast cancer and linking them to early detection screening services.

The Avon Foundation for Women, an accredited 501(c)(3) public charity, was founded in 1955 to improve the lives of women and their families. Now past the half century milestone, the Foundation brings this mission to life through the Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program and the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, which raises funds and awareness to advance access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer, with a focus on the medically underserved. Since 1992 the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has raised and awarded more than $640 million worldwide for medical research; access to care; support services; screening and diagnostics; and education and awareness. The largest fundraising program in the U.S. is the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer series.

For more information on the Well Woman HealthCheck Program at North Country HealthCare, call Elizabeth Markona at (928) 213.6193. For more information about breast cancer, contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 or www.cancer.org, or the National Cancer Institute at 1-800-4-CANCER or www.cancer.gov.

To learn more about the Avon Foundation for Women, call 1-866-505-AVON or visit www.avonfoundation.org, where you can also access the free printable Breast Health Resource Guide in English and Spanish. For information or to register or support the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer events, visit www.avonwalk.org or call 1-888-540-WALK.

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