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The Cancer Services Program of Cortland and Tompkins Counties Funds Free Cancer Screening

The Cancer Services Program of Cortland and Tompkins Counties Funds Free Cancer Screening

According to the New York State Department of Health, an estimated 12,000 people in Tompkins County have no health insurance. Are you one of them?

If you have no health insurance, or if your health insurance policy does not cover the cost of screening tests for breast, cervical, or colorectal cancer, you may be eligible for help from The Cancer Services Program of Cortland and Tompkins Counties. You may also be eligible for help if your policy requires you to pay a high co-payment or deductible that you can’t afford.

What is The Cancer Services Program of Cortland and Tompkins Counties?

The Cancer Services Program of Cortland and Tompkins Counties is a unique collaboration of government and community-based systems. Our goal is to promote healthy living through outreach, education, and access to services for the purpose of reducing the risk of chronic disease. Funded by the NYS Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Cayuga Medical Center, The Cancer Services Program of Cortland and Tompkins Counties works with local health-care practitioners to provide no-cost and low-cost clinical breast examinations, mammograms, Pap tests, and colorectal screenings.

In addition to cancer screening, we also provide education about prostate cancer. This is a very common form of cancer among men that responds well to treatment when it is detected early.

Why is low-cost cancer screening so important?

Studies confirm that individuals with no health insurance, and those with insufficient income to pay high deductibles and co-pays, typically postpone preventative health care. Postponing regular check-ups decreases the likelihood of early cancer detection when the disease is most easily and successfully treated. At the same time, it increases the risk of cancer-related deaths.

How do I find out if I qualify for free or low-cost screening?

To determine your eligibility for free breast, cervical, or colorectal cancer screening, simply call The Cancer Services Program of Cortland and Tompkins Counties at (607)758-5523. Screening eligibility is based on your income level and whether you are uninsured or underinsured for health care.

If I’m eligible for cervical and breast cancer screening, what happens next?

Once we have determined your eligibility, we will schedule a cervical-cancer-screening exam for you with one of the participating health-care providers in Tompkins County. Mammograms for breast cancer screening, which are also scheduled by this office, are provided at the Convenient Care Center in Ithaca, Cortland Convenient Care and Commons Imaging in Cortland, and Cayuga Medical Center.

What if I have a positive test result?

If you are a woman with a positive screening test result for cervical cancer, or a woman or man with a positive screening test result for breast cancer, our Cancer Services Program coordinator will meet with you to help you complete the application to determine eligibility for Medicaid coverage for treatment. The application is reviewed in Albany and she is contacted with the results of the review. Then, together, you will identify a doctor and establish a patient-physician relationship for the course of your cancer treatment. She will review your options with you and will act as your case manager throughout the process.

What about screening for colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., typically responds well to early intervention. Screening for colorectal cancer involves a fecal occult blood test, which is a kit that comes to you through the mail from The Cancer Services Program of Cortland and Tompkins Counties. You simply follow the directions in the kit for collecting small samples of three separate bowel movements. After completing the kit, you mail it back in a preaddressed envelope. If your stool sample results are positive, we will help you make an appointment for a colonoscopy, which is performed at Cayuga Medical Center and is a more definitive diagnostic test for colorectal cancer.

For more information about the The Cancer Services Program of Cortland and Tompkins Counties, and to find out about your eligibility, call (607)758-5523 .

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