An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure--we’ve all heard that saying from Benjamin Franklin and we can all agree these words are true. But nowhere do these words ring truer than with See, Test & Treat, a College of American Pathologists (CAP) Foundation initiative that delivers free cervical and breast cancer screening to medically underserved women who face language, cultural, financial, and transportation barriers to health care.* And at the heart of it all is a pathologist leading the charge, organizing the one-day event, mobilizing volunteers and interacting with patients. But these aren’t just any interactions. We are talking about educating patients, directly and one-on-one. We are talking about compassionate care patients unfortunately may not get elsewhere due to lack of insurance or financial resources.
We talked with Dr. Timothy Craig Allen, Chair of Pathology at University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) and a pathologist lead for the See, Test & Treat program. Speaking about the first See, Test & Treat event he attended, “I was quite impressed with the involvement of the volunteers. I saw pathologists stepping outside of their usual roles and acting as leaders in educating women about their health, as I would expect physicians to do.” The women are welcomed by a team of healthcare professionals who are there for them, to ensure their lives are put first with preventive screenings. UMMC’s Dental School even joined the screening team and began screening patients for oral cancer. They found a malignant lesion in a patient that could have gone undetected for quite some time if it weren’t for See, Test & Treat. Each event typically serves 50-150 women, the right number for a quality, personal touch but enough to make an impact in the community. And just think about the impact being made.
Dr. Timothy Craig Allen with See, Test & Treat volunteers
Often, barriers to healthcare for these women were the same barriers their mothers’ faced, and their mother’s mother faced. See, Test & Treat breaks down those barriers to see and serve the whole patient. “The patients are pleased with the sense of respect and attention they are given,” said Dr. Allen. The program volunteers understand barriers still exist for these women after they leave. That’s why the program provides same-day results for the cervical cancer screening and same-day or prompt results of the screening mammogram. If abnormalities are found during the screenings, patients are able to schedule their follow-up visit for the same day. Patients are also provided translated health education materials that they can go back home and share with their families and friends. Now that is changing a community, and it’s pathologists who are making it happen.
The future is bright for See, Test & Treat and the inspiring news is anyone can volunteer for this initiative. Because anyone can be a part of it, many of the volunteers mirror the patients at See, Test & Treat events. So patients are met with smiling faces they are familiar with which may lessen any apprehension patients have about the screenings. Remember, these are medically underserved women; they don’t know what to expect. Pathologists and volunteers of the See, Test & Treat program are removing many barriers to preventative care so these patients can experience the benefits.
And while the pandemic temporarily halted program events for 2020, buzz and excitement around the program remains and substantial work has already been completed for 2021’s program. How will this program continue to grow in the future? Dr. Allen noted, “We need to focus more on rural pathology needs.”
For more information about See, Test & Treat, visit https://foundation.cap.org/what-we-fund/see-test-treat/. Our gratitude goes out to Dr. Timothy Craig Allen for talking with us about this phenomenal program.
Built on the vision of better patient outcomes, Instapath was founded in 2017 by engineers and scientists to enable patients to immediately know their cancer diagnosis. Our team made it our mission to develop fast and easy digital pathology technology so diagnosis can be made in minutes instead of days. To learn more about Instapath and our technology, visit https://instapathbio.com or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.