Newnan, Ga. (April 30, 2013) – Piedmont Newnan Hospital is working with Cargill and the Coweta County Health Department to provide free screening and diagnostic mammogram services to Coweta County residents who would otherwise not be able to afford these lifesaving procedures.
Recently, the health department has experienced a rapid increase in the number of breast cancer patients who require follow-up care. This influx exceeds the health department’s ability to help due to insufficient funding.
“When breast cancer is detected early, survival rates are above 90 percent but the survival rate declines as the cancer progresses,” said Alice Jackson, nurse manager at the Coweta County Health Department. “With the help of the Piedmont Outpatient Center and the grant they received from Cargill, we are able to expand the number of Coweta County residents who have access to high quality breast cancer diagnosis and screening.”
Last summer, Piedmont Newnan was awarded a $35,000 grant from Cargill, international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. The funds are used to provide screening, diagnostic breast imaging and biopsy free of charge to residents in the Coweta County community.
Patients referred to Piedmont Newnan from the health department must meet certain requirements to qualify for the free breast health services provided by the Cargill grant. They must be a current Coweta County resident, a U.S. citizen and meet certain financial requirements.
“Previously, there were no low-cost or free options for obtaining screening and further diagnostic treatments, sometimes meaning cancer will not be treated promptly or appropriately,” said Vicki Kaiser, senior director of outpatient services at Piedmont Newnan. “With the Cargill grant, we are able to target those specific patients who are eligible for indigent or charity care and provide them these free services, increasing their chance of survival.”
Approximately one in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer in the course of her lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. The National Cancer Institute reports that screening mammography every one to two years reduces breast cancer deaths by a third or more for women 50 and older.
Most health insurance plans cover the cost of one mammogram per year. Free or low-cost screening mammograms are available through the local health department’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (BCCP) for women with inadequate or no health insurance who are age 40 and older. However, cuts in BCCP funding and the increasing number of uninsured women have left a critical gap in services for many women, and particularly for those women whose screening mammogram results are abnormal.
For more information about breast health services at Piedmont Newnan, visit piedmontnewnan.org.