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Cancer Services Program Screens the Uninsured


ELMIRA, N.Y. (October 1, 2018) –  In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Cancer Services Program of the Southern Tier 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.

One out of eight women will get breast cancer in their lifetime.  A mammogram is the best way to find breast cancer early, when it may be easier to treat. Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.

Compared to women who have insurance, uninsured women are less likely to be screened (80% compared to 68%), according to 2016 data from a New York State survey of women ages 50 to 74. Compared to women with a regular health care provider, women without a regular health care provider are less likely to be screened (82% compared to 52%).

“The Cancer Services Program makes sure those women who are least likely to have access to health care services get critical breast cancer screenings for free,” said Denise Argetsinger, Case Manager. “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.”

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in New York State, with more than 15,000 women diagnosed each year. Women who are at average risk for breast cancer (for example, they have no family or personal history of breast cancer, or genetic risk), the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends a mammogram every two years between 50 and 74 years of age.

However, some women may need to be screened younger than age 50 or more often based on their risk factors or symptoms.

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. A woman’s best chance for survival is finding breast cancer early through regularly scheduled mammograms,” said Argetsinger. “We can help women without insurance find a regular doctor to talk about screenings if it’s needed.”

The Cancer Services Program of the Southern Tier provides breast, cervical and colon cancer screening to eligible New York State residents. Please take the time and call Denise Argetsinger at the Cancer Services Program (607) 873-1500, which is served locally by the Chemung County Health Department. Screening for program eligibility is done over the phone and most providers located in the service region participate in program, offering screening services. “A simple phone call can allow women access to breast cancer screening that they may otherwise go without. Lack of health insurance should not prevent women from obtaining these life-saving cancer screenings. Call today to find out if you or someone you know is eligible.”


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Chemung County
203 Lake Street
Elmira, NY 14901

County Executive Thomas J. Santulli