‘Early detection is key’: Breast health programs helping women in Texas Panhandle

One in eight women will develop breast cancer and experts say screening is key to early detection.
Published: Oct. 10, 2023 at 5:55 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 10, 2023 at 6:17 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - One in eight women will develop breast cancer and experts say screening is key to early detection.

24 Hours in the Canyon is partnering with the Amarillo Fire Department and Amarillo Professional Firefighters Local 542 to raise funds for free mammograms.

“The proceeds from the shirt sales definitely provide free mammograms for women who don’t have insurance, and it’s really important to get screening because we know early detection is key. If you put off screenings, maybe the next time you go in, they see something they could have caught earlier. So the key is early detection,” said Ryan Parnell, director of 24 Hours in the Canyon.

So far 300 shirts have been sold.

“Breast cancer does continue to be our number one cancer for Potter and Randall County together. We’re seeing a lot more younger folks come to the Cancer Survivorship Center with breast cancer. It’s very important. I can’t stress screenings enough,” said Parnell.

Panhandle Breast Health’s mission is to decrease breast cancer deaths by increasing mammogram rates through education, access and advocacy.

“Starting last year, was the first year we started doing direct pay for mammograms and we’ve been very fortunate to grant funding. So we’re able to provide mammograms for free for women who are over the age of 40, medically uninsured and live in the Texas Panhandle,” said Judy Neill, executive director at Panhandle Breast Health.

This year, the nonprofit has paid for 120 procedures and no one has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

“People may wonder, ‘Well why are you doing all these mammograms if nobody is being diagnosed with cancer?’ Well for one thing, if you get an annual mammogram, you get that first one, get that baseline, they know what is normal and then annually you can go back and they have something they can compare to it. And also, just the relief,” said Neill.

To purchase a shirt online, click here. Shirts are also available at Fire Stations 7, 9 and 13 for $10.

To fill out an application for a screening, click here.