Free cancer screenings for uninsured women

SUNY Downstate Medical Center and University Hospital of Brooklyn is urging uninsured community residents to take full advantage of the hospital’s free cancer screenings.

The screenings – conducted in partnership with the Bedford-Stuyvesant Family Health Center, LICH Continuum Health Partners, Inc., and First Medcare, Inc. – are made possible through a three-year, US$1.5 million grant from New York State Department of Health.

Isabel Rodriquez, cancer prevention coordinator at SUNY Downstate, said women 40 years of age and older, with no health insurance, can receive free pap tests and pelvic exams, and clinical breast exams and mammograms.

She also said women and men 50 years of age and older, with no heath insurance, can receive free take-home colon cancer test (Fit Kit).

“It does not matter whether someone is documented or not, as long as they have no insurance, they can take advantage of the free screenings,” Rodriquez told Caribbean Life.

According to 2009 statistics from New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 78,000, or 69.9 percent, of women in Brooklyn, between the ages of 40 and 44, received timely breast cancer screening, as defined as having had a mammography over a two-year period.

This compares to 218,000, or 78.2 percent of women in Brooklyn in the 45-64 age-group, who had timely breast cancer screening over the corresponding period.

“We know there are lots of people who’ve lost their jobs and who don’t have insurance. We just want them to take advantage of these screenings,” Rodriquez said. “A lot of these cancers are preventable.”

To schedule a free exam or to obtain free information, call: (718) 567-1384/1385.

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