Hundreds of women in Florida will be able to get early screenings for breast cancer under a national program aimed at the uninsured.
Three Florida facilities will receive the grants from the National Breast Cancer Foundation and Hungry Howie’s. Its “Love, Hope and Pizza” program awarded grants to more than 70 facilities around the country.
In Tampa, a $25,00 grant helps Moffitt Cancer Center offer 200 low-income, uninsured women free mammograms and diagnostic breast care services.
The Christine E. Lynn Women's Health & Wellness Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, and Martin Memorial Diagnostic Center in Stuart are the other recipients in Florida.
Christy Smallwood, who manages the breast imaging program at Moffitt, said women who can’t afford screening often don’t get it at all.
“A lot of women don’t know that these services exist so they just don’t have their mammogram because they don’t know there are programs that can help them, Smallwood said.
Smallwood also said early detection is important in treating breast cancer.
“If you have a sister, mother, aunt who had breast cancer early, you need to have your first mammogram 10 years before their age of diagnosis,” Smallwood said. “So if someone in your family was diagnosed at 40, you need to have your first mammogram at age 30.”
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.
Women 40 and older may be eligible for the screening, as well as women 18-25 with referral from their doctor.
Last year, Moffitt performed about 14,000 mammograms at their three sites. About 5 to 10 percent resulted in finding cancer, Smallwood said.
For information about qualifying for a free mammogram, call Moffitt’s Patient Appointment Center at 813-745-3980.