Healthy Living: Early screening for breast cancer
If breast cancer runs in your family, it might be a good idea to get a mammogram before the recommended age. Our Casey Bortnick tells us about an organization that offers low or no cost mammograms to help women without insurance.
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A picture. A moment in time. A lasting memory.
Karen Ratcliff's mom was 57 when she passed away. Because she has a family history, she's been getting yearly mammograms since she was 29.
"You should definitely take care of your health," Ratcliff said.
Without insurance, taking care of your health isn't easy.
"I am a temporary employee and have no health insurance," said Ratcliff.
"We don't want finances to be a barrier to care," said Candice Lucas, Cancer Services Program Director.
A state wide cancer services program, in each county, is helping women with little or no health insurance get screened. The program doesn't just cover the screening, it covers any diagnostic or follow-up treatment that may be needed.
"A mammography can be a few hundred dollars. So we don't want anyone thinking because they don't have health insurance that they can't get the screening that they need to have," Lucas said.
Signing up for the program is as easy as phone call or you can access enrollment forms online. The income guidelines for the program are higher than might think. Those making as much as much as $28,000 a year can qualify.
"I had no problem qualifying because of my temporary job status," Ratcliff said.
Last month, Ratcliff had another mammogram, a test that found something unusual.
Ratcliff said, "It was very scary, very scary to find out the calcium deposits could have been pre-cancer."
Ratcliff didn't have cancer, but she's happy she didn't wait too long to get it checked out.
"And I plan on living a long life and watching my children have children," Ratcliff said.