Cancer Services Program of Steuben, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua counties would like to share: National Cancer Prevention Day, February 4, 2021

February 4th is National Cancer Prevention Awareness Day but being aware is not enough. We need to take action to lower cancer risk by making healthy choices, getting the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to prevent cancer, and staying up to date on cancer screenings.

Cervical and colon cancer screening tests can find cancer before it starts, so that the cells or polyps that would eventually become cancer can be removed. And while breast cancer can’t be prevented through screening, a mammogram can find breast cancer early. Early detection of cancer means treatment may be easier and more successful.

According to two April 2020 reports, cervical cancer screening dropped nationwide by 83%, mammograms by 87% and colonoscopies by 90%. These declines are due to the temporary shutdown of medical offices for routine care to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The Cancer Services Program of Steuben, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua counties is urging anyone overdue for these screenings to talk to your health care provider about getting them back on the calendar. You can address concerns about the risk of COVID-19 and discuss your overall health and risk for these cancers. Together, you can decide if getting a screening is safe at this time.

The following are recommendations for men and women with no risk factors (at average risk) for breast, cervical or colon cancer:

· Men and women ages 50 and older should be screened regularly for colon cancer. There are several ways to be screened, including a stool test that can be done in the privacy of your own home.

· Women age 50 and older should get a mammogram at lease every two years.

· Women ages 21-65-years-old should get screened for cervical cancer.

If you don’t have insurance or a health care provider, our program may be able to help. The CSP can help eligible, uninsured New York State residents get free cervical, breast, and colon cancer screening. Call 1-607-385-3933 or 877-778-6857 today to find out if you qualify for free cancer screenings.