Mammograms for under-insured and uninsured women

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Women who are under-insured or without insurance altogether are still able to receive their recommended mammogram screenings thanks to a program at Sanford Health.

Detecting breast cancer early can make all the difference when it comes to treatment and survival.
And Dr. Lilian Ebuoma says that all starts with mammograms.

“Using mammograms to detect breast cancer has been scientifically proven to decrease mortality by at least 30%. So it’s actually the only imaging study that we know saves lives. So it’s extremely, extremely important that women get their mammograms so we can detect breast cancer early,” Ebuoma said.

She says Sanford Health recommends women start screening yearly at the age of 40, unless you’re a high-risk patient.

And for women who are under-insured or uninsured, there are options.

“It’s called All Women Count. And that’s the program we kind of emphasize for anybody that we’re trying to get in because of financial barriers,” Erica Lessman said.

Erica Lessman is the education and outreach coordinator at Sanford Health. She says women between the age of 40 to 64 who fit the financial guidelines are eligible for free mammograms and any follow-up diagnostics.

“Obviously breast cancer is something where we’ve really advanced a lot with finding it and treating it. But we still want there to be no barriers for anybody. We don’t want to hear that there’s a financial reason that they’re not coming in to get their mammograms,” Lessman said.

To find out if you’re eligible, she says you can call Sanford’s mammogram scheduling line or the South Dakota Department of Health. But most importantly, don’t put it off.

“So a lot of times, if we are detecting cancer in that certain population, it’s an advanced stage. So it’s highly, highly important that we make sure that they have access. So then when they do come to seek that care, we’re able to give it to them,” Ebuoma said.

To learn more about the All Women Count program, click here.

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