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Why breast cancer claims the lives of more Armenian women

by Cara Taylor | Presbyterian Mission Agency

remote-scene-with-ribbon-002When a mobile medical clinic arrived in the tiny village, offering free health screenings to women, they found Karine Petrosyan. Day and night, pain gripped her abdomen. Massive fibroids were silently consuming her uterus. Karine needed emergency surgery.

In this remote corner of Armenia, there was little to no access to basic health care until Jinishian began the reproductive health program in 2016. Without early screenings, breast cancer is deadly, making mortality in Armenia is among the highest in the world—a devastating toll that Jinishian is determined to reverse one village at a time.

We chose to partner with Maple Leaf medical services to focus on the area around Vardenis first—a deeply poor, volatile border zone with Azerbaijan where birth rates are low. In a couple dozen visits, the clinics reached nearly 600 women like Karine, 90 percent of whom had some form of gynecological disorder.

Karine was swiftly transferred to the hospital, where doctors removed her invasive fibroids, saving her life. She was far from an isolated case. Hers was one of sixteen vital surgeries. Women desperate for medical intervention finally had an advocate with the expertise to shepherd them through Armenia’s complex healthcare system. The program was funded solely through our Jinishian donors, with only $42 covering each initial life-changing exam.

Three cancer patients are already identified and have begun treatment plans. Astonishingly, thyroid disease was found in a quarter of the women. Prescriptions and follow-up care are included in the program.

Having seen in just a short time how many women will live longer, healthier lives as a result of this pilot program, Jinishian is committed to continuing and expanding it. This can only happen with your help. Please consider a small gift today that can truly save a life.


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