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BreasTEST & MORE, a newly expanded program of the Georgia Department of Human Resources (DHR), provides mammograms and Pap tests at no cost to low-income women 50 and older who are uninsured or underinsured. First introduced in October 1993, the BreasTEST Program has provided more than 10,000 mammograms to Georgia’s women, resulting in the diagnosis and treatment of over 75 breast cancers. The expanded program, which provides Pap tests in addition to mammograms, is expected to serve 15,000 women in the coming year.

BreasTEST & MORE is a public-private partnership that combines $1 million in state funding and over $2 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with services donated by hospitals, mammography facilities, physicians and others. The program is administered by DHR’s Division of Public Health, Cancer Control Section.

The program is accessed through county health departments across the state, who provide local coordination for screening, diagnostic evaluation, treatment, and follow-up. Health department personnel provide clinical breast exams, Pap tests and pelvic exams; determine if women meet program income and insurance guidelines; and schedule mammogram appointments at local radiology facilities. All BreasTEST & MORE appointments at local radiology facilities. All BreasTEST & MORE mammography facilities must be accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and certified by the Food and Drug Administration.

Any woman at least 50 years of age who is not getting regular mammograms and Pap tests because of the cost should call or visit her local health department to find out if she is eligible. The five-year program will continue through 1999.

An estimated 4,200 Georgia women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994, and about 1,000 died from the disease. Although the five-year survival rate is above 90 percent when breast cancer is detected in its earl stage, medically uninsured and under –insured women are often diagnosed at a later stage, resulting in lower survival rates. Older women are also at increased risk: 4 out of 5 breast cancers occur in women 50 and over.

In Georgia, more than 400 new cases of invasive cervical cancer were diagnosed in 1994, and 125 women died of the disease. With early detection, deaths from cervical cancer are almost 100 percent preventable.

By offering mammograms and Pap tests at no costs to older, underserved women, BreasTEST & MORE is helping to reduce the number of deaths from breast and cervical cancer. For more information, call your local health department.

 


 

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