Free Mammograms Available For Minnesota Residents
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will offer free mammograms through a televised phone bank on FOX 9 KMSP-TV in Minneapolis on Thursday, June 25, 2009. The phone bank will air during the 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts. The mammograms are offered through the Sage Screening Program, a state and federally funded program that provides free breast and cervical cancer screenings to uninsured and underinsured women age 40 and older. Newly enrolled women in the program will also receive $20 for being screened, which has been shown to increase screening rates.
Messages stressing the importance of detecting breast cancer early and encouraging women to take advantage of the screening program will also run throughout the campaign. MDH’s toll-free number, 1-888-6-HEALTH (1-888-643-2584), will be answered from 8 a.m. to 10:35 p.m. on June 25 and 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. all other weekdays. Voice messages can be left anytime outside of these hours.
Through this event, MDH hopes to make more women in Minnesota aware of this free program. “We think many women are not receiving these life-saving screening tests because they have no health insurance or their insurance has deductibles or co-payments they cannot meet. Sage can help,” said Jonathan Slater, chief of Cancer Control at MDH.
Sage has a network of more than 400 local health care providers statewide, and has served nearly 114,000 women since 1991. Approximately 1,400 women have been diagnosed and treated for breast and cervical cancer through the Sage program.
This year, it is estimated that 3,500 Minnesotan women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 650 Minnesota women will die from the disease. Annual mammography has been reported to reduce breast cancer deaths in women age 40 and older by detecting the disease in its earliest stages when it is most easily treated.
Women seeking eligibility information about the free mammography program—or women who want to make an appointment for a free mammogram—should call Sage at 1-888-6-HEALTH (1-888-643-2584). Women living in neighboring states or whose incomes exceed Sage’s guidelines, should call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 to learn of other free and low-cost programs.