COLUMN: Free cancer screenings available to uninsured; income limits do not apply

— In Onondaga County, the program helped screen 1,051 individuals for breast, cervical and/or colorectal cancer screenings. The program in Onondaga County identified 14 breast cancers, one cervical cancer and pre cancerous polyps in 16 individuals.

The American Cancer Society and our respective county health departments are working to spread the word about this program. It’s not so easy because the eligible population is always changing. Many who may have taken advantage of the free screenings in the past are either employed and have access to affordable health insurance or have aged out of the program. This means that there is room for more to take advantage of the free screenings.

If you do have health insurance, it's important to have regular check-ups and to make sure you are screened for cancers. Here are some facts about cancer screening that illustrate how important it is to be screened for cancer:

a More than 30 percent of New Yorkers are not up-to-date with their colorectal cancer screenings.

a At least six of every 10 deaths from colon cancer could be prevented if every adult over the age of 50 was tested regularly.

a Adults ages 18 to 64 with no health insurance in the past 12 months were seven times more likely to skip medical care for cost reasons compared with those who were continuously insured.

a The Pap test has reduced cervical cancer rates dramatically since it was first introduced in the U.S. 65 years ago.

Assemblyman Will Barclay represents residents of Assembly District 120, which includes Lysander. He can be reached by mail at 200 North Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by phone (598-5185).

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