Women over 50 who have been putting off breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings because they couldn't afford the tests can now get them free.
The Carroll County Health Department has obtained a $93,000 federal grant to cover cancer-detection screenings for low-income older women.
"It's for that gray area of women who aren't eligible for medical assistance [Medicaid], but don't have the money for preventive care," Judy Trickett, coordinator of the screening program, said of the grant.
Eligible women will receive appointments for Pap smears and breast examinations with local participating physicians.
Mrs. Trickett plans to schedule the University of Maryland mobile unit for mammograms, but women who need mammograms before the scheduled date can be sent to a radiology laboratory, she said.
The grant money will cover additional mammograms for women whose initial tests reveal suspicious lumps and follow-up tests for those whose Pap smears reveal possible cervical cancer.
Financing for the program comes from the federal Centers for Disease Control, with a supplement from the state health department to cover such diagnostic procedures as ultrasound and breast biopsies for women whose mammograms indicate possible cancer.
The federal grants are part of a national effort to detect cancer in older women, Mrs. Trickett said. The state health department has been promised $3 million a year to divide among the counties for the three-year grant period.
To qualify, a woman must be over 50, lack health insurance or have insurance that does not cover mammograms or routine pelvic exams, and have income no higher than 250 percent of the poverty level. For a single woman, that means annual income of $17,025; for a couple, the limit is $22,975.
Women who think they are eligible for the assistance can call Mrs. Trickett at 876-4775.