LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com)  — A 62-year-old woman is touting how a West Hollywood clinic, which aids low-income residents and those who are uninsured, helped her battle breast cancer.

Three months after having a normal mammogram, Evelyn Stevenson, of Leimert Park, was having trouble breathing. She also felt a lump in her breast, but didn’t know if it was related to the chest pains.

“I, too, was afraid. I waited two months before I went to check out the lump,” Stevenson said.

The pain in her chest was so severe, she thought she had an infection. Stevenson went to the emergency room, where they told her how serious things were.

“‘[They said,] You don’t have bronchitis. You don’t have a blockage or anything, but you do have a large mass in your left breast,’” Stevenson said.

Stevenson had no health insurance and didn’t know what to do.

A friend recommended she go to the Saban Community Clinic, where Stevenson met with Dr. Casey Kirkhart.

“I just thought he was the most incredible doctor that morning. I was a wreck. I was just in tears,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson had a very aggressive cancer, but the clinic facilitated all the specialists she needed to see.

“She had bilateral mastectomy, so both breasts were removed, and she had a lymph node dissection, so they had to go into the armpit to remove the lymph nodes that might be affected,” Kirkhart said.

CBS2’s Lisa Sigell reports that the clinic is able to help people because of support from foundations like Susan G. Komen, which helps pay for everything from treatment to education.

“Fortunately, we’re able to make quick referrals that they can get access to mammograms fairly quickly and without cost,” Kirkhart said.

Stevenson has been cancer-free for almost three years. She keeps in touch with her friends at the Saban Community Clinic and this year, she will join more than 10,000 others at this weekend’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Stevenson said she’s telling her story to educate others.

“There are so many young women who should be made aware. It’s something that’s so needed in every community,” Stevenson said.


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