They recently had a 30 years old Lebanese immigrant, Ms. M, who presented to ACCESS with a breast lump after she attended one of their educational sessions at local Mosque. They traditionally present at eight local mosques, and rotate monthly between mosques.
Ms. M heard about the presentations by word of mouth and so she decided to attend this presentation at the selected mosque. Ms. M was fearful and initially did not wish to receive screening. She was afraid of multiple things including the process of receiving a mammogram and the machine itself and possiby the idea of receiving a bad diagnosis.
After offering her both emotional and educational support including information about the mammography process, information about breast cancer in general; she accepted to get the screening. She received a mammogram, which unfortunately had significant findings. At that point, she was terrified and she started thinking about death and the taboo topic of cancer. She did not wish to go for a biopsy initially. But once more, with the support and care offered through ACCESS, she agreed. ACCESS staff provided clear and understandable information on what a biopsy is and offered her contacts linking her to some of ACCESS support group activities to reassure her that she is not alone.
After undergoing this step, unfortunately, her biopsy showed a stage 2 ductal carcinoma. Due to her age, lack of insurance and new immigrant status; she was unfortunately not eligible for BCCCP services. This clearly impacted the famiy as staff witnessed the whole family, husband and kids, crying and feeling hopeless as ACCESS struggled with securing the funding needed.
ACCESS investigated additional financial services within the state of Michigan. We connected with the University of Michigan cancer institute. ACCESS made arrangements with them and they found her the funds needed for surgery and treatment. She is currently undergoing the additional treatment steps at the University of Michigan.
ACCESS continues to connect with Ms. M, connecting her with our support group resources, and follow her through her path of recovery as she takes small but positive steps in that direction.
We are grateful for the connections we have made with various institutions and community organizations as we work towards reducing the burden of diseases such as breast cancer and helping many women as Ms. M.