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Hundreds take advantage of health fair at Good Samaritan Mission

WIMAUMA — A woman carrying a balloon timidly approached Venessa Rivera and asked how she could get a mammogram.

"Has someone in your family had breast cancer?" Rivera asked in Spanish, standing before a display of bilingual pamphlets and silicone breasts used to teach self-exams.

Down a hall buzzing with women with strollers and toddlers with juice boxes, the woman could register. Later she could get a free mammogram in a mobile unit brought by the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute.

Several hundred women and their families attended a health fair Wednesday at the Good Samaritan Mission sponsored by Moffitt and Catholic Charities.

As they do three times a year in Hillsborough County, Moffitt provided the mobile mammogram bus while Catholic Charities brought its mobile medical services clinic for Pap smears.

Though breast cancer is diagnosed about 40 percent less often among Latinas compared with other women, it usually is diagnosed at a later stage, according to the American Cancer Society.

"The common denominator is poverty and lack of access (to medical care)," said Marlene Rivera, coordinator for education and outreach at Moffitt.

The mobile clinic can handle 25 to 30 mammograms a day. But Marlene Rivera expected to get double that amount.

Those who couldn't be seen got a note from a doctor to come back to another mobile clinic or a local clinic, Moffitt health educator Venessa Rivera said.

Ricardo Morales of the American Red Cross helped give out copies of a hurricane guide. Morales hopes for more bilingual volunteers to help the Red Cross during a hurricane.

Saundra Amrhein can be reached at amrhein@sptimes.com or 661-2441.

>>fast facts

How to help

The American Red Cross needs volunteers – especially bilingual volunteers – in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties to help during hurricanes and other emergencies. To volunteer, call (813) 348-4820.

To register as a bone marrow donor, call the Florida Blood Services at (727) 568-2115.

Contact Marlene Rivera at Moffitt at (813) 745-4983.

Hundreds take advantage of health fair at Good Samaritan Mission 06/19/08 [Last modified: Thursday, June 19, 2008 4:31am]

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