Cytotechnician Camrell Williams processes cervical cytology specimens in the Cytology Laboratory at UMMC.
Cytotechnician Camrell Williams processes cervical cytology specimens in the Cytology Laboratory at UMMC.
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Dozens screened at See, Test and Treat event

Published on Monday, April 8, 2024

By: Jewell Davis, jdavis25@umc.edu

Photos By: Joe Ellis/ UMMC Communications

More than 50 women received free cervical, breast and oral cancer screenings at the annual See, Test and Treat program over the weekend. The outreach event targets uninsured and underinsured women and seeks to lower deaths from cancers through health education to participants.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Cancer Center and Research Institute and Department of Pathology, hosted the event, which was made possible by a grant from the College of American Pathologists (CAP) Foundation. Cancer screenings and education included an age-appropriate mammogram for those ages 40-64, cervical cancer screening for ages 21-64 and oral cancer screenings for all.

Participants received prompt results to ensure timely follow-up.

Portrait of Varsha Manucha

Dr. Varsha Manucha, professor of pathology and section director for the divisions of Cytopathology and Genitourinary and Head and Neck Pathology, serves as the lead pathologist for the screening event. Standing at the forefront of the screening initiative, she witnesses the direct impact the program has on patients, medical students, residents and the community.

“When patients see the huge response of volunteers and health care community to help, support and educate them, the patients who felt marginalized begin to recognize the genuine care, and this shows they are not alone in their health care journey,” Manucha said. “I hope they have a renewed sense in their health, and I hope they share their knowledge to other women in their community.”

Portrait of Lisa Haynie

Dr. Lisa Haynie, professor of nursing, has performed pap smears with UMMC School of Nursing faculty members and practitioner students since the screening event’s inception.

“We’ve seen cases where it’s been 25 years since women have had a pap smear or mammogram. They (patients) are nervous, but we encourage and inform them that if detected early, we can find the cancer and get them help,” Haynie said. “A lot of women are underinsured or uninsured, so this event gives them access to screenings and gives them the confidence so they are able to attend the event and have the screenings done.”

A variety of community partners were also on hand to provide health education and continuing health services to participants while they waited for their test results.

“We’re not just screening patients. We’re providing them with results, health education and scheduling follow-up appointments which helps them walk away with a plan. The program's paramount strength lies in its capacity to bridge the gap caused by limited or no access to, or loss of continuity in, receiving healthcare,” said Manucha. “In the future, we are ready to expand and to address other cancers and other members of the community further away from Jackson.”

Cytotechnologist Mirna Vargas views patient specimens during See, Test, and Treat.
Cytologist Mirna Vargas screens a cervical PAP smear in the microscope for abnormal cells.

Above all, the Cancer Center and Research Institute hopes the annual event encourages women to regularly get screened for breast and cervical cancer because early identification saves lives.

“It’s part of the mission of the Medical Center to serve Mississippians, and this event is a perfect example of what the mission is about, and it’s the perfect opportunity to give back to our state,” said Haynie.

“The See, Test, and Treat event serves as a remarkable demonstration of the collaborative spirit within the entire UMMC community,” said Manucha.