Budget cuts threaten cancer tests


Staff Writer

Friday, April 21, 2017

Federal budget cuts could mean Nash County women will go without life-saving cancer tests, according to local health officials.

The Nash County Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program last year discovered cancer in 10 patients, said Nash County Health Director Bill Hill.

One of the women came to the county health department for a regular check-up and was encouraged to make an appointment for her yearly GYN exam, which was long overdue. The woman followed through with the appointment and doctors discovered she had cancer.

“Because of this, her cancer was caught in its very early stage and she has received treatment,” Hill said.

For fiscal year 2017, Nash County received $70,290 for the screening program. Scheduled for fiscal year 2018, Nash County will receive $26,265, a cut of $44,000 from the previous year.

The program provides free or low-cost breast and cervical cancer screenings and follow-up visits to eligible women. From March 2016 to March 2017, the program served 358 women in Nash County.

“Without the additional federal funding for this program, Nash County women will surely be lacking in the cancer screening services that are so very important,” Hill told Nash County commissioners during a workshop meeting earlier this week.

The program is for women who are uninsured or under insured; without Medicare B or Medicaid; between 40 and 64 for breast screenings and 21-64 for cervical screenings; and have a household income at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

Of the 358 women screened during the past year, 103 were referred for diagnostic studies that included mammograms, ultrasounds and colposcopies. Of those 103 women, seven women were diagnosed with breast cancer and three were diagnosed with cervical cancer. The woman ranged in age from 27 to 60.