LIVINGSTON COUNTY — January is cervical health awareness month, and the Livingston County Department of Health wants to ensure that you or your loved ones are cancer free by offering screenings for both insured and uninsured women.
According to a press release from the Department of Health, the New York State Cancer Services Program provides free cervical cancer screenings to uninsured women, ages 40 and older, in every county and borough of the state. The program also provides free breast and colorectal cancer screening to eligible New York State residents.
“It is especially important for women who have not had a Pap test within the past five years to get screened,” said Colleen Schiedel, Program Coordinator for Livingston and Wyoming Counties. “Six out of ten cervical cancers occur in women who have never received a Pap test or have not had one in the past five years. Don’t delay, talk to your doctor or call the Cancer Services Program.”
With the advent of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), dependents may stay on their parents’ health insurance until the age of 26, giving women the opportunity to get tested, which can find cervical cancer at it’s earliest, most treatable stage.
In this stage, there are often no symptoms, meaning frequent screenings is paramount in a life-saving diagnosis.
The impact of insurance status on screening behavior was recently highlighted by American Cancer Society researchers. They found that the ACA was likely the cause of a large increase in the number of younger women (under the age of 26) getting diagnosed for cervical cancer at an early stage.
“It’s wonderful that the Affordable Care Act has helped some women get screened for cancer, but the fact remains that there are people who still remain uninsured,” said Schiedel. “The Cancer Services Program is here to provide life-saving cancer screening to our most needy residents.”