SILVER SPRING, Md. (WUSA) -- The Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure raises money for breast cancer and 75% of the grand total stays right in the DC area. One program that has seen the benefit from the race is a navigator program at the Muslim Community Center Medical Clinic in Montgomery County.
The clinic opened its doors in 2003 in Silver Spring, and since then has served the underserved. They take care of adults with little or no insurance or income.
It's not just about dollars and cents. The clinic also helps remove cultural, language and physical barriers that women face obtaining breast care. Every woman over 40, who comes to the clinic, is seen by Dr. Uma Ramahrish for breast and gynecological exams.
Dr. Ramahrish told us, "They have a hesitation to see men doctors. Culturally they don't want to complain and they don't want to say they have a problem."
If they do find out there is something wrong, the clinic has a patient navigator who will follow-up with step-by step support in the woman's native language. This position is funded by a grant from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.
Patient Navigator Alexis Delos Santos said, "My job is to navigate the patients, tell them what to do next and help them with getting situated and helping them get the right treatment."
Many of the women Alexis sees already know the consequences of a late breast cancer diagnosis.
One patient told us that because of their cultural barriers her friend lost her battle to breast cancer back in their home country. Azaarnoosh Etamadr worked for a cancer organization in Iran. But said early detection was never as important there as it is in the United States.
Another patient, an immigrant from India, said even those who have the resources and means still don't get breast screenings.
At the Muslim Community Clinic, 43 doctors, nurses and other volunteer medical professionals provide care to this most vulnerable population.
It doesn't go with out thanks from their patients. But Dr. Ramahrish can only thank the Komen foundation because having the free services is the only way they can get the women to come in and get the care they need.