Many women have used Women's Way to get tested for cervical and breast cancer. Read how each woman's story is unique.
Make Time for Mammograms
It had been 10 years since Paula Mundt had a mammogram or Pap test. “I know these screenings are important, but then, everything – your husband, your house, your job, everything – seems more important and you just don’t take time to take care of yourself. This isn’t a good thing,” Paula said.
In October of 2000, Paula happened upon the county nurse at the senior center and asked the nurse about the pink ribbon on her lapel. That little pink ribbon, a symbol of breast cancer support, opened the door to talk about the importance of yearly mammograms to detect and treat breast cancer early. It also opened the door for Paula to learn about Women's Way, North Dakota’s breast and cervical cancer early detection program that provides low or no cost mammograms and Pap tests for women ages 40 through 64 who meet income criteria, are underinsured, or who have no insurance.
Paula signed up for Women's Way, and within the year she helped three other women sign-up. “Women's Way sure takes the burden off your mind about paying for mammograms and Pap tests. Just knowing you’ve gone in for screenings makes you feel real good,” Paula said.
In 2001, Paula found a lump in her breast. When she went to the doctor for her regular breast and cervical cancer screenings that year, he also found the lump and ordered further testing. “I knew about the lump, but I wasn’t going to tell him because I just didn’t want it to be there. I was in a panic,” Paula said. She called her local Women's Way coordinator, who helped her understand the ultrasound process. “Women's Way helped me through the panic and gave me an opportunity to do that follow-up work. I probably wouldn’t have done it without them because of the expenses,” she said.
The follow-up testing clarified that Paula’s lump was not cancer. The next year, she fully learned the importance of taking care of oneself.
Paula discovered just how much she was needed when her husband was severely injured in a worksite accident. Having fallen from an oil rig, Paula’s husband broke nearly every bone in his body and suffered brain swelling. She was by his side and helped him recover from the near-fatal fall. “I need to stay well to take care of him. I’m looking forward to him getting better and to us growing old together,” Paula said.
Today, Paula’s husband is getting better and is visiting the workshop he spent so much time in before the accident. Paula stays busy reading and canning vegetables from her garden. She makes sure to get her yearly mammogram and regular Pap tests. “We have to take care of ourselves. If you don’t have the finances or if you are scared, Women's Way is there to help you. The people who work for Women's Way are very knowledgeable and friendly and they make you feel like you aren’t alone. They go that extra mile. There is just no reason not to use Women's Way,” she said.