Low-income women offered free cancer tests BALTIMORE COUNTY

January 08, 1993|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,Staff Writer

A new cancer detection program in Baltimore County offers a variety of screening tests, including mammograms, to low-income, underinsured women 50 years of age or older.

The Women's Cancer Protection Program officially began Jan. 1 and was formally announced yesterday by County Executive Roger B. Hayden and Department of Health Director Margaret L. Sherrard. It is funded by a five-year grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Much of the grant money will be used for vouchers the Health Department will issue to eligible women 50 or older who have no insurance or have insurance that does not cover mammograms or are still paying their insurance deductible. Yearly maximum income standards for the program begin at $17,025 for a single woman.

The vouchers are good for mammograms at participating hospitals and a doctor's visit for a pap test, pelvic exam and clinical breast exam. The program hopes to provide 1,000 women with screenings in the first year.

The Health Department cited statistics showing the county's death rate from breast cancer -- 30 per 100,000 women -- is higher than the national average and the averages in all but five Maryland counties. Part of the grant, which amounts to $218,793 this year, will fund efforts to find women who may not know the program exists.

The program will direct women hired on a part-time basis to find eligible women in their own neighborhoods. Additional publicity will be aimed at senior citizens centers, churches, beauty salons and laundromats. The Health Department will also conduct Breast Cancer Awareness Days at county malls.

For more information about the program call 887-3432.

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