Despite these numbers, prevention, screening, diagnosis, care, pain alleviation and rehabilitation for breast cancer remain virtually nonexistent in prisons. In 1998, a study at an unnamed Southern prison found that, although many were at high risk because of family histories, women were not provided with a clinical breast exam, information or basic education on self-examination upon admittance. Seventy percent of women who should have had mammograms under standard medical procedure had never been tested.# Even women who enter prison already diagnosed with cancer must fight to receive lifesaving medical care.
Like DeLuca, 57-year-old Sue Ellen Allen entered Arizona's Estrella Jail with a diagnosis of breast cancer (hers was Stage 3B). She had also undergone six sessions of chemotherapy and was awaiting a mastectomy. Two and a half months later, she was awoken at midnight, then handcuffed, shackled and transported to another jail. At 9 AM, she was moved to the hospital for the mastectomy.
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Williams, Roma D, Terry D. Mahoney, and R. M. Williams, Jr, "Breast Cancer Detection Among Women Prisoners in the Southern United States," Family & Community Health 21.3 (1998): 32.
Interview with Bonnie Kerness, December 28, 2011.
See: Cynthia Cooper's "A Cancer Grows [http://www.indybay.org/
Interview with Bonnie Kerness, December 28, 2011]