Adagio Health Recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Pittsburgh, PA (October 5, 2020) - October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it provides an opportunity to highlight the importance of breast cancer screening and early detection. One of the most effective ways to prevent breast cancer is routine cancer screenings. If breast cancer is detected in the early stages, nearly 90% of those diagnosed have at least a five-year survival rate.
"Breast cancer screenings are critical for women over 50 years old," said BJ Leber, Adagio Heath president and CEO. Adagio Health has made mammograms and breast diagnostic services free and accessible to uninsured and underinsured Pennsylvanians for over 25 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death for women in Pennsylvania-killing nearly 2,000 women annually. Breast cancer is also the leading cause of new cancers in women among all races and ethnicities in Pennsylvania by more than twice as must as the next new cancer diagnoses.
In March 2020, Pennsylvania enacted a stay-at-home order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare providers across the state cancelled and rescheduled routine screening appointments. Many organizations, including Susan G. Komen Foundation, encouraged women to delay routine screening mammograms because of concerns about COVID-19 transmission and potential overburdening of healthcare system. Six months later, many women are asking, "Is it safe to get a mammogram?" The answer today is "yes". In addition, Adagio Health offers programs that can help patients who have recently lost a job due to COVID-19 or who have lost health insurance access free or low cost cancer screening care.
Routine screenings are important. Breast cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer when caught early. Medical Providers can help patients weigh the risks and benefits of being screened now or postponing screening until a later date. If patients do not have a family history or other risk factors, medical provider may suggest waiting up to 24 months between screenings. The American Cancer Society recommends that women of average risk do not exceed two years between mammograms. If a patient has symptoms of breast or cervical cancer, he or she should schedule an appointment immediately.
Hospitals and imaging centers across the state are open for routine screening mammograms. The availability of screening appointments and operating procedures may vary by location based on the prevalence of COVID-19 cases in different areas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued the following recommendations for healthcare providers:
- Screening centers should be available to answer questions from patients before and/or after the screening procedure.
- Patients should be pre-screened for COVID-related symptoms before screening appointments.
- Scheduling of appointments should allow for physical distance between patients in waiting rooms and patient care areas.
- There should be limitations on visitors to the facility.
- Surfaces should be frequently disinfected. A screening center should be able to tell you how often surfaces are disinfected.
- Everyone should wear a face covering or mask.
Adagio Health manages the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (BCCEDP) and the Susan G. Komen funded Mammogram Voucher Program (MVP). Through these two programs, uninsured and uninsured Pennsylvanians are eligible for free breast cancer screening and diagnostic services through local health care providers. These services include screening mammograms, 3D mammograms, diagnostic mammograms, ultrasounds, MRIs, and biopsies. If breast cancer is detected, Adagio Health can help those without credible health insurance obtain coverage during treatment through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Program (BCCPT).
Last year, Adagio Health assisted approximately 7,000 women with access to breast cancer screening services in Pennsylvania. Without access to these services, Pennsylvanians would forgo life-saving cancer screening services because they are simply unaffordable. Last year, only 57% of Pennsylvania women ages 40 and over had a mammogram.
More information is available at www.adagiohealth.og or by calling 1-800-215-7494. Adagio Health manages the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (BCCEDP) in 62 counties of western, central, and northeast Pennsylvania. Adagio Health also manages the Mammogram Voucher Program (MVP) in 56 counties of Pennsylvania.
About Adagio Health - Since 1971, Adagio Health has provided health and wellness services throughout western Pennsylvania. In 2018, the organization began an expansion that now includes 62 counties across the state, and 7 counties in West Virginia. Among the services Adagio Health offers and oversees: family planning and reproductive healthcare for women and men, prenatal care, breast and cervical cancer screening, community education, tobacco cessation, and nutrition services including WIC in 5 Pennsylvania counties. Many of the nearly 110,000 patients receiving services are women who are uninsured or underinsured. Services are provided through funding from foundations, the State and Federal government and in partnership with a variety of local organizations and other funders.