Cancer screenings available for uninsured

FREEHOLD — The New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection (NJCEED) program funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a special state appropriation provides breast, cervical, prostate and colorectal cancer outreach, education and screening services free to eligible people who have limited incomes and are uninsured or underinsured.

The Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey is the lead agency for NJCEED services in Monmouth County and receives funding from the state Department of Health and Senior Services to reimburse providers for cancer-screening services.

The Monmouth County Health Department is an NJCEED provider and offers free mammography screenings to eligible women. For those ineligible for free services, there is a $45 co-pay. For women on Medicare, the co-pay is $21.

“All women are at risk for getting breast cancer and that risk increases as they get older,” said Freeholder Robert D. Clifton, liaison to the health department. “Early detection is key in treating breast cancer, which is why I am pleased that the county is making breast-cancer screening and other medical outreach available to all women.”

According to a press release from the county, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer (other than skin cancer) in women and ranks second among cancer deaths in women. The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age, but it is more treatable when found in its early stages. Health care providers recommend that women age 40 and over should have a mammogram and a clinical breast exam every year.

The Monmouth County Health Department also provides cervical cancer screenings (Pap smears) free of charge as part of a grant from the Board of Freeholders.

Anyone interested in any of these screening services can call the health department at (732) 431-7456 to make an appointment or to obtain more information.