|Stanley J. Robboy, MD
Stanley J. Robboy, MD
I felt like an enormous weight had been lifted off my shoulders when I heard I was OK. I was living in fear, not knowing whether I might have cancer.
See, Test and Treat participant
NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center,
Minneapolis, October 2011
See, Test and Treat is a CAP Foundation program that provides cervical and breast cancer screening to medically underserved women across the United States. At See, Test and Treat programs, volunteer pathologists, gynecologists, radiologists, family practitioners, cytotechnologists, and nurses collaborate to provide Pap tests and mammograms at no cost and arrange for followup care as needed. Same-day colposcopy is available at most sites, subject to space and time constraints. Post-screening biopsy and fine-needle aspiration are provided at many programs, and when that is not possible, a plan for prompt followup care is established.
Through See, Test and Treat, the CAP Foundation enables inten-sive, locally driven, patient-centric screening in a supportive environment. Child care, a nutritious lunch, and health education are part of the day. Sites offer a mix of exercise sessions, diabetes and hypertension screening, and nutrition education as well. Translators are on hand to ease communication and make patients more comfortable. The associated activities, services, and partners may vary from one program to the next but the fundamentals are consistent: compassionate, patient-centered care and education provided at no cost in one day in a dignified setting structured to ease the barriers faced by at-risk patient populations.
The extreme time constraints of a one-day program encourage creative thinking. Helping patients more directly is great fun, and it helps us to become more visible. Patients meet with their pathologists to talk about Pap test results and to view cells through the microscope. The atmosphere is intense and festive at once, which is to be expected when volunteers give so much relief to so many in so short a time. For the minority with concerning results, next steps are taken or planned on the spot.
Dina Mody, MD, of Methodist Hospital in Houston, brought See, Test and Treat to her community by orchestrating a collaboration of faculty and staff from Methodist and Baylor College of Medicine and organizers of Día de la Mujer Latina (Day of the Latina Woman), an established health fair. Dr. Mody says that when regulatory and courier insurance constraints made it necessary to process slides at the hospital, Mary R. Schwartz, MD, who heads up anatomic pathology at Methodist, asked her teenage son to help. He stood all day at the loading dock, accepting packages of slides from volunteer runners (who for a while were coming every five minutes) and bringing them to the laboratory.
Brad Linzie, MD, has since 2005 taken part in six See, Test and Treat programs at the NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center in Minneapolis. Its patient base includes many Hmong and Somali refugees. We shouldn’t be strangers to our patients, our nurses, and the providers who collect these specimens, Dr. Linzie says. I like the way he thinks.
It was a video about the Minneapolis program that prompted Barbarajean Magnani, PhD, MD, to bring See, Test and Treat to Boston. Many women are medically underserved in the Chinatown neighborhood where Tufts Medical Center resides, Dr. Magnani says. Tufts’ third program will be held this October.
See, Test and Treat began when Gene Herbek, MD, made a commitment to bring culturally appropriate preventive care to Native American women, who had higher-than-average prevalence and mortality rates tied to cervical cancer. Dr. Herbek arranged meetings with Indian Health Service officials and tribal elders, talking to public health experts about how to approach it. He sought and found ready support from the American College of Radiology and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The first program was in October 2001 at a clinic in McLaughlin, SD, on the Standing Rock reservation, and things took off from there.
The CAP Foundation champions patient-centered and humanitarian roles for pathologists, and its board agreed a year ago to launch a dramatic expansion of See, Test and Treat that would enable us to reach more underserved communities across the United States. Between September 2011 and January 2012, pathologists provided Pap tests for 211 women at programs in Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Texas. Four more programs will be held this year, the first of which was coordinated by Si Nguyen, MD, on Aug. 18 at the Nhan Hoa Clinic serving Vietnamese immigrants in Orange County, Calif.
I hope that many CAP members will help us bring See, Test and Treat to underserved communities accessible to their practices. The CAP Foundation staff can advise on effective promotional strategies and ways to partner with other physicians and health advocates. We have found that many groups, agencies, clinics, and churches, once approached, welcome the opportunity to help.
While new volunteers seem to be a natural product of each program, funding is not. We are growing fast and substantial funds are needed if we are to sustain this wonderful initiative. So this is my clarion call.
When your CAP dues statement arrives, please enter a substantial contribution to the Foundation to help us see to it that this important work continues. Together, we can make See, Test and Treat a durable symbol of our commitment to protect and promote the public health.
We are drawn to what we know is true, and we know this program is truly faithful to our mission. Please join me in expanding See, Test and Treat. Make a major commitment to support the CAP Foundation. Help us build a robust and life-changing program to ensure that pathologists will continue to lead in promoting public health initiatives and providing quality care where it is most needed.
Dr. Robboy welcomes communication from CAP members. Write to him at email@example.com. The CAP Foundation is a registered 501(c) (3) charitable organization. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. For more information, please contact the Foundation at CAPFdn@cap.org or call 800-323-4040 ext. 7846.