More than 400 women die each year from breast cancer in Mississippi according to the Department of Health. And low income women are likely to have advanced disease when symptoms appear. But as MPB's Jasmine Ellis reports free screenings are being offered to help.
The University of Mississippi Medical Center Cancer Institute is offering free breast and cervical cancer screenings for uninsured and underinsured women ages 21 to 64. The screenings are part of the College of American Pathologists Foundation See, Test, and Treat program. Dr. Timothy Allen is with the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He says they are aiming to screen between 80 and 100 women that day.
"We do know that finding cancers earlier or finding lesions that may progress into cancer early is the best way to either prevent cancer or treat it well and treat it successfully," said Allen. "So getting these screenings is a key tool we have to finding women who have these atypical lesions or worrisome lesions or even cancers and treating them quickly."
The screenings will be held June 1 at the Cancer Institute in the Jackson Medical Mall. According to the Department of Health, the cervical cancer death rate is about 50 percent higher among African-American women compared to white women.
Dr. Allen says low income women are being helped because they don't have the same access to screenings for early detection of cancer.
"By the time symptoms do occur it's likely that the lesion may be fairly progressed," said Allen. "That said, if a women feels there are some symptoms related to cervical or breast cancer such as pain, swelling, or bleeding to absolutely follow up immediately."
Women who are interested in being screened should call the medical center to set up an appointment. Space is limited.