To kick off National Breast Cancer Awareness month, there was a ceremony in the lobby of Jackson Memorial Hospital to spread the word about the Florida Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program funded by the CDC. It provides free or low cost screenings for women who do not have health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.
“My mother died six years ago from breast cancer, so I'm coming today just to have a memory,” said Tammy Thomas, who, among others, was decorating a tree with pink ribbons in honor of women fighting breast cancer and in memory of those who lost their lives.
“We provide mammograms we provide pap smears. The woman must be between 50 and 64 years of age. They also must be of low income and have not been screened within the last year,” explained Jennifer Prince, the program’s director for the Miami-Dade Health Department.
The Taylor Breast Center at Jackson is one of the places where the mammograms are done. When breast cancer is discovered through this screening program, Medicaid quickly kicks in to cover the cost of treatment through the Mary Brogan Act. Mary was the wife of Florida's lieutenant governor when she died of breast cancer in 1999. The Florida statute enacted in her name is helping save the lives of women who would otherwise not have the resources to fight this disease.
“A lot of these women who cannot afford these services go into hibernation. The tumors grow and grow and grow until we see large unmanageable masses,” said Dr. Ada Patricia Romilly. She’s the medical director of breast imaging at Jackson.
To pre-qualify and make an appointment for the women's screening program where you live, here are the numbers to call 954-762-3649 in Broward and 305-470-5634 in Miami-Dade and Monro.