Qualifying women can receive free exams

This article submitted by Molly Connors on 10/15/96.

Breast cancer is the number one killer of women aged 40 to 55.

Although women who have family histories of breast cancer are more likely to develop it, breast cancer can strike any woman. Four out of five women who develop breast cancer donít have a family history of it. It is a killer that does not distinguish between race or color.

Some women died because they could not afford a mammogram. The mammogram is one of the three tests that all women should do regularly to detect breast cancer: breast self exams, physician exams and the mammogram.

In 1991, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control founded the Minnesota Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program. This program assures that all Minnesota women can have a mammogram and a Pap smear (tests that detect cervical cancer).

The program ran into a problem when someone realized that some women had no insurance or money for an insurance deductible. Even if these women had gotten a mammogram, they couldnít afford further treatment.

The Komen foundation, which operates in 35 states, was founded in memory of Susan G. Komen, who died of breast cancer in 1982. The Komen Foundation is helping women who cannot afford breast diagnostic services. In May of 1996, the foundation had helped over 400 Minnesota women.

The Paynesville Area Health Care System is participating in the Minnesota Breast and Cervical Cancer Program.

Women who meet the financial guidelines are eligible for free breast exams, mammograms and pap tests throughout the year.

Eligibility guidelines are:

1) Underinsured or uninsured (limited coverage, unmet deductible, co-payment).

2) Age guidelines: Breast screening - 40 years and older. Women are also eligible if they are under 40 and show signs or symptoms of breast cancer. Cervical screening - 25 years old, or have previous problem.

3) Income: on or below these cutoffs:

Household Monthly Annual

1 $1,452 $17,425
2 1,965 23,575
3 2,477 29,725
4 2,990 35,875
5 3,502 42,025
6 4,015 48,275
7 4,527 54,325
8 5,040 60,475
9 5,552 66,625
10 6,025 72,775

Note: These guidelines change yearly. Women should check with their individual clinics for exact cut-offs and more up-to-date information.

For more information, contact Bev Mueller at the Paynesville Area Hospital, 320-243-3767.

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