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GRANT TO PROVIDE MORE CANCER TESTS\ SHOULD SAVE LIVES
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GRANT TO PROVIDE MORE CANCER TESTS\ SHOULD SAVE LIVES

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A new statewide effort aims to reduce deaths from breast and cervical cancer.

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An estimated 4,900 North Carolina women learned in 1990 that they had breast cancer; the disease claimed 1,067 lives that year.

That same year, 400 women in the state were diagnosed with cervical cancer; 125 women died of cervical cancer that year.``There is no reason for any woman to die of cervical cancer,' said Beth Joyner of the N.C. Department of Environment, Health and Natural Resources. ``We have the technique to detect it and the means to cure it.'

Many women, however, can't afford periodic mammograms and Pap Smears, which can detect breast and cervical cancer. Mammograms range from $50 to $100; Pap Smears, from $35 to $80.

But starting in 1993, North Carolina will receive $3 million a year for five years to make such tests possible for 12,200 women a year.

The national Centers for Disease Control grant will let county health departments pay private care providers to screen women for breast and cervical cancer.

It will pay when the woman's income is up to twice that of poverty level - $27,900 a year for a family of four - and when she does not have Medicaid or other insurance. The effort targets minorities and women over 40, though others are eligible.

Before the new money, health departments did Pap Smears but sent women to private providers if tests showed a problem. The new money will pay for hospitals to evaluate the abnormality with a colposcope and perform a biopsy.

Because few health departments have mammography machines, the new money will pay for mammograms and follow-up to evaluate an abnormality. Women also will be taught self-examination.

The money does not pay for cancer treatment; women who need it will be sent to private providers. Many private providers agree not to let a woman go untreated.

Guilford is among counties that plan to start screening next month.

The county will receive $61,359 to screen at least 667 women in 1993.

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