Free Cancer Screenings

Published 05/13 2010 04:24PM

Updated 05/21 2010 05:11PM

Since the mid-1990's, the Cancer Screening Program has helped thousands of people.   As more people lose their jobs and health coverage in the recession, demand for its services is growing, here at home and across the state.

Given these tough economic times, chances are you or someone you know could use the help of this life-saving program.   That's why there's a major push to get the word out.

Patients like Elaine Friedman turned to the Cancer Services Program of Monroe County.

"I called them up and told them I didn't have insurance they said no problem, we an do both for you.   The mammogram and the pap smear, and I was elated," she said.

CSP is located in every county in the state.   It helps uninsured and underserved women and men get life-saving breast, cervical and colon cancer screenings. It's been around for about 15 years, but it's a best-kept secret.

Demand is high.  Last year in Monroe County, CSP helped more than 680 people and paid for more than 2800 cancer screenings and diagnostic services, but it's capable of serving many more.

"We served close to 700 last year and we had a surplus of dollars and we had to send those dollars back," said Candice Lucas, Director of CSP of Monroe County.  "We don't want that to happen again this year.  We're funded through the state so the budget crisis does effect us.  But we do have an allocation of dollars in this community and we want to make sure those dollars stay here and that we use them to help the people who are here and that need it."

CSP links patients to more than 100 providers throughout the county.  Patients come from all walks of life, from the suburbs to the inner city.   Given the enormous costs of treating cancer, doctors push for early detection, and say finances should not be a barrier to screening.   Elaine agrees.

"Women know they have to take care of their health, but if they have no insurance, first of all they're embarrassed.  They hate to reach out to anyone.  Second of all they're afraid."

Elaine is back on the job market, and now eligible for insurance.  But for the time she went without, she found peace of mind with the Cancer Services Program of Monroe County.

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