We all know early detection is the key to beating cancer but what happens if you can’t afford those screenings?
A statewide program steps in to help but is in danger because of lack of funding.
The cancer service program helps get people to places like St. Mary’s to be screened for cancer. State funding has been cut and now the program could be jeopardy.
Corleen Andrews doesn’t have health insurance and used the cancer services program to be screened, finding out she has cancer.
“Breast and now currently I have to have a biopsy of my throat. If it weren’t for them I wouldn’t know what to do,” Andrews said.
If not for the program, she’d have nowhere else to turn.
“Three surgeries thus far and I’m in need of more and their services are running out of funds.”
The program pays for the screening of several types of cancer and some treatments for those without insurance or who are under-insured.
The state cut its funding by 20 percent last year, putting those services at risk.
Suzanne Hagadorn works with the cancer services program and helped deliver a stack of petitions to the capitol on Thursday.
“We still have January, February, and March to go. We’re really worried that we won’t be able to screen during those months,” Hagadorn said.
Scott Hobson helped collect the 3,600 petitions from across the state.
“We had volunteers out in every community talking about how important the program is and getting the petitions signed,” Hobson said.
Asking for the governor to restore full funding to the program.
“They’re running out of money and if they’re running out of money they can’t do screenings.”
Nina Martinez Austin works as a case manager with the program.
She’s seen the process work first hand, detecting four women over the last two months with breast cancer.
“That in the month of October who would have just been walking around to the month of November not knowing that they had cancer.”
Andrews says free screenings may not seem like a big deal to some but for people like her.
“Those who have had family members or someone close to them, they need to understand this saves lives.”
It’s the difference between life and death.
The cancer services program is holding one of their monthly free screenings on the 21st here at St. Mary’s.
You can also still support the petition for funding online by visiting this website.