The state has allocated an extra $1 million to provide cancer screenings for thousands more uninsured, low-income women in South Carolina.
The state typically serves about 7,000 women a year in the Best Chance Network, which offers free screenings for breast cancer and cervical cancer to women between 47 and 64, said Jim Beasley, spokesman for the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.
But that’s only 11 percent to 15 percent of those eligible, he said. With the extra funding, which was part of the Legislature’s budget proviso, another 3,500 women can be screened, he said.
Every year in South Carolina, 3,580 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 660 will die of the disease, according to DHEC. With access to early detection and treatment, women stand a better chance of survival.
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Since its launch in 1991, the program has screened more than 96,000 women.
“There have been so many women helped by the Best Chance Network to assist them in gaining access to Pap smears and mammograms that they otherwise would not have been able to afford,” said Dr. Sheree Nwanagwo, a BCN provider partner and physician with CareSouth Carolina in Bennettsville.
“There have been abnormalities and even cancers that were detected that would not have been if not for this very important screening network,” she said.
For more information, go to www.scdhec.gov/health/chcdp/cancer/bcn.htm.