A fter topping the state in breast cancer related deaths just 3 years ago , A ntrim County is fighting back. The numbers of deaths have dropped because of a program that gives every woman the resources to get tested.
" Early detection is the way were going to help to have good family health and happy families ," Antrim County High Tea Co-Founder Jane VanEtten said.
High Tea teamed up with the Health Department of Northwest Michigan to offer free mammograms to low income women. They found that the problem was coming from lack of detection and the county's restricted access to health facilities. Now, with a closer option, she says every woman has access to testing and there is no excuse not to get tested.
" You just have to bite the bullet so to speak and say this is important to not only me, but to my family or loved ones that surround me ," VanEtten said.
M any people have already taken advantage of this program. I n the last year , more than 200 women in Antrim County have been tested. This is up dramatically from the mere 40 they had the year before. The High Tea group says that the increased education and testing in the county has helped reduce the death rate in the county. In the last few years, it has gone from number 1 to 47 in breast cancer related mortality's. Even though there has been a dramatic change already, VanEtten says she won't be happy until every single woman in the county gets an annual mammogram.
"T here's always anxiety with people, you know they really say what I don't think I want to know even though theres been a history of cancer in their family there a little bit frightened of going thinking they might discover something ," VanEtten said.
I f you are an Antrim County resident and are eligible for free testing, contact the Health Department of Northwest Michigan.