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Sanford, FM Pride team up to bridge gap of disparity for LGBT getting preventative screenings

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FARGO—Preventative Care, like mammogram screenings and pap smears, saves lives.

Yet millions of people aren't getting these services.

Going to the doctor for a check up can be scary. But, it may be even more difficult for people in the LGBT community.

"Want to fix any problems we're seeing that are brought up from our patients," said Dr. Shelby Terstriep, oncologist.

According to the National LGBT Cancer Network, queer women report the lowest rates of mammograms, colonoscopies and pap smears, all preventative screenings that detect for deadly diseases like cancer.

"We really wanted to dig deeper into why that was," said Dr. Terstriep. "What the research shows is that there are three main issues on why they don't come in, which is not being connected to primary care, fear of discrimination, and decrease in insurance coverage."

Which can be cause for major concern, because the LGBT Health Education Center says this can "result in inappropriate preventative care and screening recommendations and impact patient-provider relationships negatively."

And Sanford wants to change that rhetoric.

"Important to be able to be open and honest with your gender, gender identity and sexuality," said Dr. Terstriep.

Which is why they've teamed up with FM Pride and will have mobile mammography truck at Saturday's Pride in the Park.

"Wanted a safe place where people don't have to worry about discrimination. We are coming to you," said Dr. Terstriep.

Aside from providing mammogram screenings right on the spot, Sanford representatives will be asking for public feedback on ways to better healthcare for the LGBT community.

"To meet them where they're at," said Dr. Terstriep. "If we can do something better, we want to do that."

Because at the end of the day, these doctors want everyone to get the care they need, no matter how they identify or who they love.

Mammograms can be pre-scheduled by calling Sanford centralized scheduling at 701-234-7100 or on site on Saturday at Pride in the Park. Insurance is accepted. If you do not have insurance or cannot afford your co-pay, Sanford will work with you to get mammograms covered by the Women's Way program for North Dakota residents of The Sage Cancer Screening Program for Minnesota residents.

We have more information on on how you can set up an appointment for the traveling truck or if you have insurance concerns once there.

Cassandra Rohlfing

After working part time at WDAY-TV during her college career, Cassandra – who goes by Cassie, joined the WDAY news team full-time in January as an Online Editor/Weekend Producer. She switched over to Reporter/Multimedia Journalist in June and is excited to work on stories you want to see!  She was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, ND and is part Turtle Mountain Chippewa. Cassie graduated from  North Dakota State University in December of 2015 with a degree in Journalism, and an emphasis in Broadcasting. Cassie bleeds green and gold and is an avid Bison Football fan who attended every home game in her college career, thanks to being a part of the Gold Star Marching Band. Her hobbies include binge watching TV shows on Netflix, attempting to work out, and getting outside when she can. If you have any questions/story ideas feel free to email or call. 

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