The Cancer Committee at Southeastern Health has set a goal for 2017 to increase the number of screening mammograms for the women of Robeson and Bladen counties. We can absolutely do this, but we need everyone’s help. I know what y’all are thinking. We have about a million reasons to not schedule our mammograms. Let’s review common problems and their answers.
Problem 1: “We are still recovering from a major natural disaster and we don’t have time to think about cancer screening exams.”
Answer: And yet the one thing we heard over and over in the shelters, even from the folks who had lost EVERYTHING, was “at least I have my health.” Too right! And the way to ensure your continued health and vitality is to screen for serious diseases like cancer and catch them early when they are curable. An ounce of prevention, my friends!
Problem 2: “I don’t have health insurance, I can’t afford a mammogram.”
Answer: Yes you can. There is a program in Robeson and some surrounding counties to get eligible women a free mammogram and pap smear. This program is called the North Carolina Breast and Cervical
Cancer Control Program (NC BCCCP) and it provides free or low-cost breast and cervical cancer screenings and follow-up to eligible women in North Carolina. Each year, NC BCCCP strives to provide services to over 12,000 women.
Who is eligible for BCCCP?
Women living in North Carolina who:
• are uninsured or underinsured;
• are without Medicare Part B or Medicaid;
• are between ages 40 – 64 for breast screening services and 21 – 64 for cervical screening services; and
• have a household income at or below 250% of the federal poverty level.
What services are offered?
• Clinical breast exams
• Screening mammograms
• Pap tests
• Diagnostic procedures, as indicated (diagnostic mammograms, ultrasounds, colposcopies, breast and cervical biopsies)
• Medical consultations
Is assistance available for cancer treatment?
Breast and Cervical Cancer Medicaid (BCCM) provides funding for treatment to NC BCCCP enrolled clients who are diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer and who meet additional requirements. BCCM eligible women must be enrolled in NC BCCCP prior to a cancer diagnosis.
Problem 3: “Don’t they hurt?”
Answer: Life is uncomfortable. Anyone telling you different is selling you something. They can be uncomfortable but they are quick and many women find they are not as uncomfortable if they take Tylenol or Motrin two hours before their exam.
Problem 4: “Don’t mammograms cause cancer?”
The Cancer Committee at Southeastern Health wants to join forces with you, our community, to improve our health. If your mammogram is due, or overdue, please call (910) 671-4000. If you do not have insurance and meet the guidelines mentioned earlier, please call Raz at (910) 671-5357 and schedule an appointment with one of our providers today. Together, we can absolutely make a difference in the lives and health of our community. Join us today!
Catherine Gaines is a certified physician assistant and team lead for patient navigation for SeHealth.