October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer Services Program Urges Women to Get Mammogram

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s common to hear about pink ribbons, events promoting screenings, support services and finding a cure this time of year. While the GET SCREENED FOR BREAST CANCER seems to be a simple message, it may not seem that simple to those who do not have health insurance to cover these screening services. Fortunately, there is help.

The New York State Cancer Services Program (CSP) provides breast cancer screenings to women ages 40 and older without health insurance.  If any follow-up testing is needed, the CSP will provide those tests too.  If cancer is found, our program will help enroll people who are eligible in the NYS Medicaid Cancer Treatment Program for full Medicaid coverage during treatment.

“The CSP is here to serve our community with education about breast cancer and to provide breast cancer screenings to women who are uninsured” says Carrie Horton, Coordinator of the Southern Tier Cancer Services Program. “We don’t want the lack of health insurance to deter women from getting screened.”

Brittany Follis Freeman of Endicott, NY, lost her health insurance when she lost her job. Her priority was to make sure her son had health insurance, so she went without due to the cost. In July 2020, she had tenderness in her breast and decided to see a health care provider. She was immediately referred to a breast care center where she underwent a biopsy.

“The next day my surgeon called. I sat on my bed next to my fiancé, hearing the words on speakerphone, ‘You have breast cancer’,” Brittany said.

She was referred to the Southern Tier Cancer Services Program that paid for her screenings, diagnostic follow-up procedures and applied for the Medicaid Cancer Treatment Program for health insurance throughout her treatment. Brittany underwent 6 rounds of chemotherapy, 12 rounds of HER-2 treatments, radiation, a double mastectomy, and an oophorectomy.

“The whole experience with the Cancer Services Program was amazing and would highly recommend it to any and all women who are uninsured,” Brittany added. “The whole process to get covered was easy and fast. I am forever grateful for the overall experience and I cannot imagine the hardship I would have to face without the help of the Cancer Services Program and their assistance with applying for the Medicaid Cancer Treatment Program.”   

Call the CSP at 607-778-3900 for more information about services and programs. In addition to breast cancer screening, the CSP provides cervical cancer screening to women ages 40 and older and colon cancer screening to men and women ages 50 and older. Some women and men should be tested at a younger age depending on their risk factors and any symptoms. A simple phone call can be lifesaving.

Publish Date
October 4, 2021