Women’s health matters all year long: Sharon Verhotz (Opinion)

Sharon Verhotz is a Supervisor in Prevention and Wellness at Cuyahoga County Board of . 

Guest columnist Sharon Verhotz is a Supervisor in Prevention and Wellness at Cuyahoga County Board of Health and has worked directly in the Breast and Cervical Cancer Detection Project (BCCP) since 2004. She began her career at Sloan Kettering in NYC as a chemotherapy research nurse, and has practiced abroad, spending most of her time in oncology and public health. Her primary focus remains cancer screening for prevention and early detection.


At the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, we champion women’s health and access to medical care all year long. We think it is important to continue the conversation around women’s health issues beyond October–and to encourage and empower all women to prioritize their own health care needs.

Access to life-saving screenings is key. The Cuyahoga County Board of Health and the Breast and Cervical Cancer Project Northeast Ohio have launched a new awareness campaign and program, My Body Matters, to increase the number of women screened in Northeast Ohio and reduce mortality from breast and cervical cancers.

We know that 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. Almost 13,000 women in the U.S. were diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016. Incidence of both cancers is higher than the national average for Ohio women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, both breast cancer and cervical cancer are in the second highest tier of incidence rate in Ohio.


My Body Matters works with local health care providers to offer free screening services to low income, uninsured women. Women between the ages of 21 and 64 who are uninsured and fall at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level in the 18-county Northeast Ohio region are eligible. The program is available in the following counties: Ashtabula, Carroll, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Harrison, Holmes, Jefferson, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas and Wayne.

Free services include: pelvic exams, pap tests, clinical breast exams, mammograms, case management and diagnostic testing (including biopsy and ultrasound as needed).

Interested women can confirm their eligibility by visiting the program website at mybodymatters.org/apply or by calling the Cuyahoga County Board of Health at 216-201-2062, or the Breast and Cervical Cancer Project Hotline at 1-800-443-2168.

We encourage all women to think about their own preventive health care all year through. Don’t let your busy schedules, access to resources or economic circumstances keep you away from obtaining vital routine screenings. Seek out available programs like My Body Matters to help get you the care you need. Your life may depend on it.


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Article source: http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2017/12/womens_health_matters_all_year.html

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