Here in Oswego County 13 people are diagnosed with cancer and 5 die from cancer each week. Female breast cancer accounts for 24.2% of all cancer cases and 10.3 % of all cancer deaths.
In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Cancer Services Program of Northern New York is raising awareness about the importance of mammograms for the early detection of breast cancer. The mission of the Cancer Services Program is to ensure that women without health insurance have access to life-saving mammograms.
“The goal of the Cancer Services Program is to lower those numbers,” said Cancer Services Program Coordinator Carolyn Handville. “Uninsured women and women without a regular health care provider are less likely to be screened for breast cancer. The Cancer Services Program makes sure those women who are least likely to have access to health care services get critical breast cancer screenings.”
“More importantly, continued Handville. “Our program’s services don’t stop at screening. If the screening test finds something abnormal, we provide for further testing and guide clients through their follow-up appointments. If treatment is needed, we help eligible clients apply for New York State’s Medicaid Cancer Treatment Program. We support our clients by helping them get all the care and services they may need.”
Any woman, or man, who has symptoms or changes in their breasts, should schedule an appointment with their doctor immediately. Symptoms can include:
· A lump in the breast or armpit
· Swelling or change in the shape of the breast, including dimples in the skin
· Itchiness, redness or flaky skin of breast or nipple
· Pain in the breast or nipple
· Discharge from the nipple (including blood) other than breast milk
“It’s very important that women 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. We can help women without insurance find a doctor to talk about screening.”
Throughout the month of October the Cancer Services Program will be raising awareness of the risks of breast cancer and registering eligible community members who are both uninsured and between 40 and 64 years of age into the Cancer Services Program so that they may obtain their free screenings.
“We all know someone, whether a family member or a friend, who has experienced this terrible disease. We want to spread the word that the Cancer Services Program is here to help. Regular breast cancer screenings increase the chances that cancer is found in its earliest stages and the earlier the better. Great advances have been made in early detection and treatment of breast cancer, and many women diagnosed with the disease are living long, healthy lives. A woman’s best chance for survival is finding breast cancer early through regularly scheduled mammograms,” added Handville.
Operating under the auspices of Oswego County Opportunities (OCO) the Cancer Services Program of Northern New York offers mammograms, clinical breast exams and other cancer screenings including pap/pelvic exams, cervical cancer, and colorectal cancer for uninsured residents in Oswego, Lewis, Jefferson, and St. Lawrence counties.
For more information on Breast Cancer Awareness Month or for eligibility requirements for the Cancer Services Program of the North Country contact Carolyn Handville at 315-592-0830 or toll free at 855-592-0830. Visit the New York State Department of Health website for more information about breast cancer, including prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.