FULTON – According to the American Cancer Society one out of eight women will get breast cancer in their lifetime. Here in Oswego County 13 people are diagnosed with cancer and five die from cancer each week. Female breast cancer accounts for 24.2% of all cancer cases and 10.3% of all cancer deaths.
In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Cancer Services Program of the North Country 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 cancer screenings.
The Cancer Services Program kicked off their Breast Cancer Awareness Month activities early when Program Coordinator Carolyn Handville partnered with Upstate University Hospital to bring its Mobile Mammography Unit to the Oswego Farmers Market on Sept. 19.
“When we spoke with city of Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow he was very supportive of the work we do and invited us to bring the Upstate University Hospital’s Mobile Mammography unit to Oswego we were happy to be able to do so,” said Handville. “The bus was at the market in downtown Oswego and provided free breast cancer screenings while there. We appreciate Mayor Barlow’s enthusiasm for our program and for the opportunity to bring the Upstate University Hospital’s Mobile Mammography unit to Oswego.”
During the event Mayor Barlow praised Handville and her staff for the work they do and the services provided through the Cancer Services Program of the North Country. “We decided to bring the Upstate’s Mobile Mammography unit to Oswego to draw attention to the importance of breast cancer screenings and how easy and accessible breast cancer screenings are now,” said Mayor Barlow.
Throughout the month of October the Cancer Services Program will be raising awareness of the risks of breast cancer and registering eligible community members who are both uninsured and between 40 and 64 years of age into the Cancer Services Program so that they may obtain their free screenings.“Uninsured women and women without a regular health care provider are less likely to be screened for breast cancer,” said Handville. “The Cancer Services Program can help women without insurance find a doctor to talk about screenings.”
“More importantly, continued Handville. “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.”
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
“We all know someone, whether a family member or a friend, who has experienced this terrible disease. We want to spread the word that the Cancer Services Program is here to help. Regular breast cancer screenings increase the chances that cancer is found in its earliest stages and the earlier the better. Great advances have been made in early detection and treatment of breast cancer, and many women diagnosed with the disease are living long, healthy lives. A woman’s best chance for survival is finding breast cancer early through regularly scheduled mammograms,” added Handville.
As part of its recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness the Cancer Services Program of the North Country will host its annual Human Pink Ribbon event from 9 a.m.-noon on Saturday, Oct. 5 at the CNY Community Arts Center, 121 Cayuga St. in Fulton. The event will feature a Pink Parade at 9:30 a.m., and the formation of the human pink ribbon at 10:45 a.m. The Upstate Mobile Mammogram unit will also be on site providing free breast screenings to eligible women by appointment. To make an appointment call the Cancer Services Program at 315-592-0830.
Operating under the auspices of Oswego County Opportunities (OCO) the Cancer Services Program of the North Country offers mammograms, clinical breast exams and other cancer screenings including pap/pelvic exams, cervical cancer, and colorectal cancer for uninsured residents in Oswego, Lewis, Jefferson, and St. Lawrence counties at over 100 different partnering provider offices.
For more information on eligibility requirements for the Cancer Services Program of the North Country or to schedule an appointment for a screening at the Human Pink Ribbon Event contact Carolyn Handville at 315-592-0830 or toll free at 855-592-0830. Visit the New York State Department of Health website for more information about breast cancer, including prevention, diagnosis and treatment.