Medicine has never been better. Access to healthcare has never been worse.

March 8, 2023

Medicine has never been better. Access to healthcare has never been worse.

At The Rose, we try to focus on what we can do.

Still, the facts are daunting.

  • 100% of our women diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in the past seven years were uninsured.
  • 40% diagnosed had never had a mammogram.
  • 50% of all patients diagnosed were under the age of 45.
  • 41% of our uninsured patients are from counties outside of Harris County.
  • 75% of patients, insured and uninsured, would not have had their mammogram if our mobile coach had not visited their community center, church, or business.

After 37 years of providing breast cancer screening and diagnosis, we have seen firsthand the devastating impact of breast cancer. We know what access to care means to our community.

This past year, we saw an unprecedented 26% increase in uninsured patients asking for help. We have not seen this type of increase in two decades.

For the seventh year in a row, we have struggled with the discouraging statistic that only our uninsured patients were diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. Not one single insured patient has had this diagnosis in all those years. Stage IV is the most serious and life-threatening stage of breast cancer.

What is scary is how many young women have late-stage cancer. Recently, a 46-year-old mother of three came to us with a large mass in her breast which had already spread. She did not have insurance; she did not have a doctor…she did not have any idea about how to access healthcare, even if it did exist. Almost by accident, she learned about The Rose from a friend.

Now, she has a tough road ahead of her.

She may very well be part of the 60% of uninsured women who will die from breast cancer compared to insured women. We will do everything in our power to keep that from happening, but it all starts with access to care.

How is this story possible when medicine has never been better?

The sad truth is access to healthcare has never been worse. Access to care is still the most significant factor in determining a woman’s survival.

The facts are daunting. We can’t stop cancer from happening, but we can make a difference in whether or not a woman survives.

We as women must do what we can. Encourage a woman to have that annual mammogram. Early detection is still her best bet. Be a real friend and don’t accept any excuses!

And, if she hesitates because she doesn’t have the money or isn’t insured, tell her about The Rose.

Together we can give another woman a future, a chance to be with her family, a chance to live.

Dorothy Gibbons
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder