Flint Hills health center to offer free women’s services at monthly clinic

Free Pap, breast exam appointments on first Wednesday of month

EMPORIA, Kan. – Unsurprisingly, a regular Pap test isn’t high on most women’s list of favorite activities, and not everyone has health insurance or can afford one.

But the test’s low popularity doesn’t diminish its importance. That’s why Flint Hills Community Health Center is using National Women’s Health Week to announce its new “Women First Wednesdays” clinic to offer appointments for free Pap tests and breast exams.

“These appointments are free for everyone, regardless of income or insurance coverage,” said Dr. Amanda Ruxton, medical director at the health center. “We don’t want these issues to be barriers for why women don’t come in and get a potentially life-saving screening.”

To take advantage of the free appointments that start June 7 in Emporia, Kan., patients need to call to get on the schedule.

Ruxton said women between the ages of 21 and 64 should have a Pap test every three years if they have a normal Pap history.

Pap tests can save lives by showing the early signs of cervical cancer, Ruxton said. Cervical cancer is usually slow-growing, but it is one of the easiest cancers to prevent and detect.

“The earlier we can detect cervical cancer and treat it, the more successful that treatment can be,” she said.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, about 12,000 women get cervical cancer each year in the United States.

“A recent Johns Hopkins University study showed the death rate from cervical cancer – nearly one-third – is much higher in the United States than we thought it was,” Ruxton said. “It doesn’t have to be this way, so we want to encourage women to get their regular Pap tests and take advantage of our free appointments.”

The federal government has established Healthy People 2020 goals – objectives Flint Hills Community Health Center will strive to help patients reach by the year 2020.

“For Pap tests, the goal is to have 80 percent of the whole community up to date,” Ruxton said. “It’s a challenge to get women in for these appointments. We want to make it as easy as possible for them to come in and get the services they need, and that’s really what our mission is all about.”

To schedule an appointment or for more information, call 620-342-4864, or see www.flinthillshealth.org/womens-health. Flint Hills Community Health Center is at 420 W. 15th Ave., Emporia.


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