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    (SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) Yearly mammograms save women lives. To help more low- to moderate-income women, LaSalle Medical Associates will began mammography at its Mt. Vernon Clinic in San Bernardino this September.

    The Department of Health Services now requires mammograms for all women over 40. They are not only simple, quick and risk-free, but are known to lower the chance of fatal breast cancer by 25-35 percent. The tests normally take only five to 10 minutes.

    Dr. Albert Arteaga, the founder and president of LaSalle Medical Associates, sees substantial light on the horizon regarding reducing occurrences of breast cancer in Black and Latino women.

    “Fifteen years ago, there was a problem. Our friends’ wives and daughters were highly reluctant to see a doctor about mammograms, personal breast exams or anything else related to breast cancer. It was all too personal for them, sharing such intimate matters with a medical professional.”

    All that has changed, he feels, with so much effort having gone into public awareness programs. “I don’t see that this reluctance is any more prevalent among minority women than Whites. In fact, the figures are nearly identical. Public awareness is working. There’s no longer a need to convince women; it’s now a matter of getting them to come in.”

    Sometimes the problem of getting women to come in is a financial one. Low-income Black and Latino women may believe they just can’t afford exams and tests. Women’s health insurance normally covers the expense, though for those without coverage there is that fear of high costs. 

    LaSalle can help women without insurance find a program to help pay for their mammography, Dr. Arteaga says. “There are many public assistance programs that the vast majority of low- to moderate-income women qualify for. We help them apply, and in many cases receive coverage.”

    LaSalle Medical Associates has two reasons for instituting its new mammography
    program. “On the one hand,” Arteaga says, “there’s an altruistic purpose. We simply want to help the community by helping women remain healthy and catching any potential breast cancer early enough to prevent its growth.

    ”On the other hand, it’s good business, and if our clinics are to continue helping patients from year to year, they simply must stay in business. So we help our patients get the care they need through state and/or federal insurance programs created to help people stay healthy,” Arteaga explains.

    Occasionally politicians or special interest group opposes government programs that spend money to help the financially disadvantaged. “But, when we show them that programs like these are heavily utilized and help keep people healthy and so we spend less overall on treating sicker people,” he says, “the opposition to them diminishes. The numbers can prove to the naysayers that the state and federal programs are being used, and public funds are actually helping save lives.

    “We believe that all women in the Inland Empire should have their annual mammogram and we are working hard to help them do so,” says Arteaga. “The more women we see, the more lives we can help save.”

    LaSalle Medical Associates has five clinics in the Inland Empire. Their offices are in five convenient locations; 17577 Arrow Boulevard in Fontana, 1505 17th Street in San Bernardino, 565 N. Mount Vernon Avenue in San Bernardino, 16455 Main Street in Hesperia and 31762 Mission Trail in Lake Elsinore.

    For more information or to schedule an appointment call LaSalle’s Mount Vernon clinic at (909) 884-9091.


    Photo caption: Dr. Albert Arteaga, President and CEO of LaSalle Medical Associates, was recently awarded the San Bernardino County Medical Society’s Merlin Hendrickson, M.D. Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community. Arteaga is recognized for his efforts to provide health services to Inland Empire children. (www.lasallemedical.com.) Left to Right – Maria Arteaga, wife of Dr. Albert Arteaga, daughter Sandy Arteaga and Mitzi Arteaga, Lynda Long of LaSalle Medial Associates.

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