Last week the Times went pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It included informative articles to educate the community on this cancer and hopefully served as a reminder for women to schedule their mammogram appointment. The Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program at the Carroll County Health Department would like to join in this community awareness effort.
Beginning in 1991, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave funding to nine states, including Maryland, to cover pap tests and screening mammograms for income-eligible women who do not have insurance. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene then asked local health departments to submit grant applications to develop their own screening programs. The Carroll County Health Department's Breast and Cervical Cancer Program began in 1992 with Judy Trickett as coordinator and remains under her guidance until December, when she plans to retire.
In the early years, the program was dedicated to county-wide outreach to promote awareness. Additionally, physicians, radiology centers and labs agreed to participate by signing contracts and accepting state fees. Eligible women were enrolled and given pap tests, breast exams and yearly mammograms. Women are recalled on a yearly basis and new women can be enrolled at any time. Since 1992, Maryland BCCP has paid for more than 225,000 mammograms and 126,000 pap tests. Carroll County's program has provided services to 3,144 individual women.
Additional funds are available in Maryland's Diagnostic and Treatment Program if cancer is detected. Carroll has also been fortunate to have grants through the Susan G. Komen Maryland Affiliate that provide services for eligible women under 40 who have a breast abnormality.
It is uncertain how health-care reform will affect BCCP at this time; however, business is as usual for the staff. If you know someone who has not had a mammogram, encourage her to make an appointment. If she does not have insurance, please ask her to call the BCCP office at 410-876-4423 for more information about free services. Every three minutes someone's mother, sister, wife, daughter or friend is diagnosed with breast cancer. Early detection is the best protection in our war against breast cancer.