By Annette Pinder
The Erie County Cancer Services Program (Cancer Services Program) knows that many men and women delay their health care screenings and may actually be taking a life and death gamble. Often the biggest reason people avoid screenings is because of cost and lack of health insurance coverage. To alleviate these concerns, the Erie County Cancer Services Program is providing free breast, colon, and cervical cancer screenings to individuals, regardless of their ability to pay.
Here’s what you need to know.
Breast Cancer Screening.
Cancer Services Program covers the cost of a mammograms and a clinical breast exam, if needed, for individuals ages 40-74 years. Anyone under age 40 who has symptoms or who is at an increased risk for breast cancer may also qualify. This includes the cost of any additional testing needed based on screening results. A case manager helps coordinate any needed follow-up appointments, and if breast cancer or a pre-cancerous condition is found that needs treatment, Cancer Services Program takes also takes care of those costs. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. an estimated 43,550 women in the U.S. will die as a result of breast cancer this year. Getting screened can make all the difference.
Colon Cancer Screening.
Cancer Services Program provides a simple, at-home early detection colon cancer screening test called a FIT Kit. The FIT Kit test is performed by you in the privacy of your home and mailed directly to the lab. The kit is available for any average risk Erie County resident, between the ages of 45 and 75, regardless of ability to pay. For those without health insurance, Cancer Services Program covers the cost of colonoscopy testing for a positive FIT kit result or for those considered to be at an increased or high risk of developing colorectal cancer. Fill out a form at https://www3.erie.gov/cancerservices/form/fit-kit-request-form, or call 716-858-7376 to request a kit. Watch a youtube video at https://youtu.be/QANmjYtiA0Q for FIT Kit instructions. The American Cancer Society estimates that there were 106,180 deaths due to colorectal cancer, and 44,850 deaths due to rectal cancer in 2022. Don’t be a statistic. Get screened.
January is cervical cancer awareness month, and more than 14,000 women are diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer each year, despite the fact that cervical cancer is preventable with vaccination and appropriate screening. The Pap Test for cervical cancer looks for cancers and pre-cancers in the cervix (the lower part of the uterus). Often performed along with an HPV test, any early changes can be detected and treated for cancer prevention.
Cancer Services Program partners with imaging centers and physician offices throughout Erie County to provide a high quality and convenient location for everyone. Call 716-858-7376 to schedule an appointment at the location of your choice. Resolve to be healthy this year. Resolve to get screened. No excuses. It’s free and it could save your life!