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Many women have used Women's Way to get tested for cervical and breast cancer. Read how each woman's story is unique.

Getting Regular Breast and Cervical Cancer Screenings Sets an Example for Others

Frances Allard-Abbott

Frances Allard-Abbott

It is a crisp fall day, and Frances Allard-Abbott, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, is busy in her kitchen among the many Mason jars and lids she is using for canning pickles. She flits around the small room, amidst the pings and pops of sealing jars, making her signature salsa and drawing the canning from the hot water bath. On her walls, and adorning nearly every space on her refrigerator, are photos of her children and grandchildren. She cherishes her family and shows her love by taking care of herself. Frances wants to be around for others so she makes time to get yearly mammograms and regular Pap tests.

“Women are the life givers, the caregivers. We are the first teachers. We need to get these yearly mammograms and regular Pap tests to show our families that we care; that our health is important. We need to show them by example, by getting in and doing these screenings,” she said.

Frances uses the Women's Way program to help pay for her breast and cervical cancer screenings. Women's Way is North Dakota’s breast and cervical cancer early detection program. Women's Way 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.

Frances learned about Women's Way through Indian Health Services. As a respected elder, she lets other women know about the program and the importance of regular screenings.

“If you catch the cancers early, then you have a better chance. I know some women think mammograms hurt, but it is okay. It is one minute of your life. It is one minute that could save your life,” Frances said. “Taking care of our health sets an example for others.”

Since 2003, Frances has faithfully used Women's Way to get her breast and cervical cancer screenings. She plans to continue setting the example of self-care. “I have a lot of things to do. I have children and grandchildren. I want to be here to enjoy them,” Frances said.