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Lutheran urges all women to take control of their health and get screened for cancer

Note to Editors: Photos available.

October 4, 2007, Brooklyn, New York…The Lutheran Family Health Center's Margarita Rosa's Breast Cancer Survivors Support group held a ceremony on Wednesday, October 3, in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. City Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez, a representative from Assemblyman Felix Ortiz's office and twenty-five cancer survivors from Lutheran's southwest Brooklyn community attended the event.

"Breast cancer is not the death sentence it used to be and we're working hard to keep it that way,"says Larry K. McReynolds, executive director, Lutheran Family Health Centers. "Early detection is the best protection for our community, that's why we encourage everyone to get regular screenings."

The Lutheran Family Health Centers (LFHC) opened its newest breast cancer screening suite. The new suite was constructed in part from a $250,000 ($125,000 for two years) grant to help battle breast cancer from the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. Lutheran's proposal, "Reducing Barriers to Quality Breast Diagnostics and Care for the Medically Underserved," was accepted in 2006 awarding LFHC funding for two years. The Avon Foundation award allows LFHC to expand services to breast cancer patients with little or no medical coverage by purchasing a new mammography unit. Lutheran expects to screen an additional 7,000 women with the new machine.

"This health center saved my life," says Beata Czepiel, Bay Ridge resident and Lutheran Family Health Centers' patient. "I came for a mammogram and the doctor found a lump. They performed surgery and removed it. Thanks to early detection I'm ok. I was lucky."

Margarita Cruz, another survivor who recently finished chemotherapy and radiation therapy for breast cancer says; all women need to be regularly screened, but more importantly, everyone needs to have a primary care doctor for regular checkups of all kinds.

Cancer screening can save lives by preventing disease, catching cancer in its early stages and providing opportunities for treatment. Women in southwest Brooklyn are less likely to get timely Pap tests for cervical cancer than women in Brooklyn and N.Y.C overall. In addition, less than half of adults aged 50 and older in southwest Brooklyn have had a colonoscopy in the past 10 years.

Cancer screening is the first defense against cancer. Screening tests for early detection may include self-examinations, physical examinations by a health professional, X-rays or laboratory tests. The new cancer screening suite is located at the Sunset Park Family Health Center, at 150 55th Street, Brooklyn. Free or reduced cost breast and cervical cancer screenings are provided to women who are uninsured or underinsured and have low income, for more information or to make an appointment please call 718-630-6953.


The Lutheran Family Health Centers (LFHC), based in Sunset Park, is a federally qualified community-based ambulatory health care system affiliated with Lutheran HealthCare. Governed by the Sunset Park Health Council, Inc., and serving southwest Brooklyn, LFHC is one of the largest health center networks in the country. With nine full-time community health centers, eight medical partnerships, 14 school-based health centers and community programs, including three WIC programs, adult and family literacy programs, three child care centers and a family wellness center, the network has served as Brooklyn's medical home for more than 40 years.


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