Free cancer screening available for uninsured women

Aug 27, 2013

Even if a woman doesn't have any kind of health insurance, Erie County will help pay for mammography screening for breast cancer and treatment.

Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein says the county wants to make sure women know they can get coverage. She says it often varies by the kind of health coverage women have.

Eighty percent of women ages 50-to-64 with private coverage get breast screening, 67 percent with government coverage do, and only 39 percent of women without coverage report having a mammogram within the prior two years.

Burstein says last year, the Erie County Cancer Service provided mammograms for 545 uninsured or underinsured women under 50 and nearly 900 over 50. She says finding a problem earlier makes it more likely the cancer can be treated successfully.

"Currently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which makes evidence-based screening recommendations, recommends screening for mammography routinely for women aged 50-74 years and for women under the age of 50, they recommend talking to your health care provider, because everybody has their own individual risk," Burstein says.

Anyone interested in assistance from the county can call (716) 886-9201 or visit the program's website.