October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Elmira, N.Y. (October 3, 2017) – For over 20 years, the Southern Tier Cancer Services Program (CSP) has helped thousands of women without insurance get screened for breast cancer. The mission of the CSP is to ensure that women, despite insurance status, have access to mammograms and breast exams.
According to 2016 data from a New York State survey of women ages 50 to 74; uninsured women are less likely to be screened for breast cancer than women who are insured. About 68% of uninsured women surveyed have been screened for breast cancer. In comparison, more than 80% of women with health insurance have been screened. In addition, women without a regular health care provider are less likely to be screened (51.7%) than women who have a regular health care provider (81.9%).
“The CSP has a very important role in the New York State initiative to make breast cancer screening more accessible as we can help uninsured women get screened,” said Denise Argetsinger at Chemung County Health Department. “We know our work will greatly contribute to New York’s overall goal of reaching 81.1% of women screened by the year 2020 and save lives along the way.”
Each year in New York, nearly 15,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and about 2,600 women die from the disease. Breast cancer is most commonly found in women 50 years old or older. For women who are at average risk for breast cancer (for example, women with no family or personal history of breast cancer, or who do not have the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene mutation), the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends a mammogram every two years for women between 50 and 74 years of age. However, some women may need to be screened younger than age 50 and/or more often based on their risk factors.
“It’s very important that women have the opportunity to talk with a health care provider about their personal risk for breast cancer and any concerns or questions they may have about breast cancer symptoms. A woman’s best chance for survival is finding breast cancer early through regularly scheduled mammograms,” said Denise Argetsinger. “Our program can help women without insurance find a doctor and facilitate this conversation and any screening that follows.”
Any woman, or man, who has symptoms or changes in their breasts, should schedule an appointment with their doctor immediately. Symptoms can include:
“If the screening test finds something abnormal, our program pays for further testing and provides a case manager who guides clients through those follow-up appointments. If treatment is needed, we help them apply for New York State’s Medicaid Cancer Treatment Program,” said Denise Argetsinger. “We support our clients by helping them get all the care and services they may need.
The Southern Tier Cancer Services Program provides breast, cervical and colon cancer screening to eligible New York residents. Call the CSP at (607) 873-1500.