DETROIT – The Community Health and Social Services (CHASS) Center is a place in southwest Detroit families go to to get medical care. They feel safe and don’t have to worry about navigating larger medical facilities.
This October, CHASS is focused on a critical need for the community -- the early detection of breast cancer. They are asking for help to better meet that need.
CHASS has been part of the community for 50 years. Graciela Banales, a patient there, is fighting breast cancer. She said the center is important for her health and the health of her family.
One of the reasons she, and others use CHASS is that they feel comfortable there. CHASS provides transportation and patients are able to speak Spanish.
The center offers a wide range of services to help the mainly Spanish-speaking population nearby. The center has dental services, an in-house pharmacy, integrated behavioral health, a walking track and a cooking demonstration kitchen.
Banales' cancer has spread to her lungs and head. Another hospital turned her away because she didn’t have insurance, but she was able to get help at the clinic.
Dr. Felix Valbuena Jr. wants to help more women like Banales. But to do that he needs a mammography machine for the clinic.
“We have about 2,800 women that are in the age group that could qualify for breast cancer screening,” Valbuena said. “Depending on who you ask, whether it’s the gynecologist or the radiologist or the American Cancer Society. The guidelines vary.”
The funding only goes so far and it does limit the number of women who can get mammograms -- specifically, there are restrictions on what age groups get covered. CHASS hopes someone will step in and help them raise the money they need to buy the machine.