A program to provide free cancer screenings, including mammograms, for uninsured and low-income Essex County residents is expected to receive millions in funding, the state's top health official announced today in Newark.
Speaking at St. Michael’s Medical Center, Mary O’Dowd, the commissioner of the Department of Health and Senior Services, said $6 million has been allocated in Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed 2013 budget. The funds would be used for the New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection (NJCEED) program, O’Dowd said.
The commissioner announced the funding while touring In The Pink, a Saint Michael's program that receives NJCEED funding and provides free screenings for breast, cervical, colorectal and prostate cancer for people in Essex County.
“Cancers can be treated more effectively if found early,” O'Dowd said. “By providing free screenings to uninsured residents, the NJCEED program has saved thousands of lives.”
The goal of the NJCEED Program, which began in 1993, is to provide cancer outreach, education, screening, tracking, and follow-up services to residents with incomes no more than 250 percent of the federal poverty level and who are uninsured and underinsured. In 2012, 250 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of four is $57,625.
The Saint Michael's program also receives funding from the Avon Breast Health and Outreach Program and the Susan G. Komen North Jersey Affiliate.
Dave Ricci, president and CEO of Saint Michael's Medical Center, called the program crucial in today's economic climate.
“We don't want any woman to die because she could not afford a mammogram or cervical cancer screening. We don't want any man to die of prostate or colon cancer because he lost his job and health insurance. We know this program saves lives,” he said.
To find a screening site near you, click here.