The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will offer free mammograms through a televised phone bank on CBS affiliate KEYC-TV and Fox affiliate NEYC-TV in Mankato on Wednesday, April 8. 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.
Messages stressing the importance of detecting breast cancer early and encouraging women to take advantage of the screening program will also run throughout the event. MDH toll-free number, 1-888-6HEALTH (1-888-643-2584), will be answered from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on April 6 and 7, and from 8 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. on April 8. Voice messages can be left anytime outside of these hours.
Through this event, MDH hopes to make more women in the Mankato area aware of this free program. “We think there are many women in this part of the state who 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. For women who live in neighboring states or those whose incomes exceed Sage’s guidelines, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 to learn of other free and low-cost programs.