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Healthcare Advocates Are Asking Lawmakers For More Funds For Mammograms

By Paul Boger | Published 12 Feb 2014 05:22pm | comments
Uninsured women in Mississippi are half as likely to be screened for breast cancer than others in the state. MPB's Paul Boger reports healthcare advocates are pushing lawmakers to support a bill that would provide additional state funding for low-income and uninsured women to receive mammogram's.
 
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 21-hundred women in Mississippi were diagnosed with breast cancer last year. Of those, approximately 20 percent will die because the disease was not caught early enough.
 
Oncologist Doctor Richard Friedman of Jackson says diagnosing the disease early has several benefits.
 
"If you treat a disease earlier, it has a better chance of being cure or controlled." said Friedman. "More lives are saved. Additionally, it costs a whole lot less to treat something early on than late in the disease process."
 
Lawmakers are hoping to introduce a bill this session that would provide an additional 500 thousand dollars to give mammogram's and pap tests to the states neediest women.
 
Mandy Chandler of Wesson is a breast cancer survivor. She says access to affordable healthcare through her county health clinic saved her life.
 
"February 23, 2012, is when I had my mammogram." said Chandler. "I go through the Lincoln County Health Department to do my yearly [appointments]. Low income, no healthcare insurance, that was my only way that I knew. As soon as I found out that I needed a biopsy I let the Health Department know, and they set up the paperwork."  
 
However, Senator Dean Kirby of Rankin County says he's not sure if the state will be able to afford yet another expenditure.
 
"Hopefully there will be something that the state can do to help that situation, but we have to wait and see." said Kirby. "Right now, to be honest with you, everyone has their hand out. So, we're just going to have to wait and see."
 
When breast cancer is found early, the survival rate is around 99 percent. When found later, that rate drops to 24 percent.

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