All bodies have breast tissue

Indian Country Today

Melissa Buffalo talks about her foundation's efforts to raise visibility during breast cancer awareness month. And national correspondent Dalton Walker joins us with an update on the closing of Phoenix Indian Medical Center's OB-GYN clinic.

October is breast cancer awareness month. The American Indian Cancer Foundation's deputy director Melissa Buffalo joins us to talk about their efforts to raise awareness on early breast cancer screenings for both men and women.

Plus national correspondent Dalton Walker is back on the show with more information surrounding the tragic closure of Phoenix Indian Medical Center's OB-GYN clinic.

Some quotes from today's show:

Melissa Buffalo:

"Indigenous Pink Day just held its sixth annual campaign. As a national organization, our goal is to reach as many communities as possible. Raising the awareness, increasing the capacity and also educating our community members and our leaders on the importance of screening."

"We think about those clinics that didn't always have the mammography resources. So they'd probably bring in a mammovan. And so when we looked at COVID-19 that really stopped. We closed down, we weren't really doing preventative care. So our goal is to really look at those missed screenings, that you mentioned. 22 million missed screenings for the top five cancers. And so what does that mean for Indian Country? That's a scary thought. So our goal is to really emphasize the importance of screening and that cancer is preventable through those screenings."

"This year was our first year that we really did focus on men. Thinking about #AllBodiesHaveBreastTissue as one of our newer hashtags. And it really did well as we looked at some of our social media insights and analytics. But we do know that all bodies have breast tissue. And although we don't have the most accurate data, as those numbers are low for men. We do want to be inclusive and encouraging if it is a family history. Your chances of getting breast cancer are higher. So wanting to include both men and women in that conversation."

Dalton Walker:

"We've published multiple stories on the matter as we worked to learn more about the closing and when it will potentially reopen. Initially we heard from people that work at the hospital regarding the closing, which wasn't really made public to anyone. We talked to them, we also interviewed moms who have had issues who have prenatal work done with the clinic and are about to give birth. And then we also reached out to IHS officials and then we learned of a letter sent to the leader of IHS by Congress members representing Arizona demanding answers to a series of important questions regarding the closure. And now we've asked for an interview with the head of IHS, director Michael Weahkee and we're just waiting for him to respond."

"I'm not sure what PIMC is telling moms to do or how they're guiding them through this important process. We've heard mixed reactions, some frustrations, and as I mentioned before IHS isn't being clear on what they're telling mothers. But Molina offered Native moms to go to this nonprofit that he's connected to, Native Health, which is actually nearby the Phoenix Indian Medical Center. And you could walk in and they would walk you through insurance options. And that visit, that connection, is at no cost for Native moms and Native Health does work with a health provider that offers birthing services. And they really work with you regarding payment options. And what opportunities are out there at very low cost, if at any cost at all?"

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Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is executive producer of Indian Country Today. She is also the anchor of the weekday newscast. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider.

Dalton Walker, Red Lake Anishinaabe, is a national correspondent at Indian Country Today. Follow him on Twitter: @daltonwalker Walker is based in Phoenix and enjoys Arizona winters.

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