Free cancer screenings offered at Chambers County Health Department

Published 10:00 am Thursday, February 22, 2024

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The Chambers County Health Department is offering free breast and cervical cancer screenings to those who qualify. The services are a part of the Alabama Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (ABCCEDP), which offers free screening to low-income and uninsured women around the state. 

The requirements to receive the screenings for free are:

  1. Be a woman
  2. Be a resident of Alabama (have an Alabama address)
  3. Be between the ages of 40 and 64; or 21 to 39 years old and have a tubal ligation or partial hysterectomy with cervix still remaining. 
  4. Have a household income at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Level (Income guidelines can be found on the ABCCEDP website)
  5. Have no insurance

The services included are a pelvic examination, pap smear, clinical breast exam, mammogram, and other diagnostic services if needed, like ultrasounds, colonoscopies, or biopsies. 

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The CCHD has advertised these services in honor of February being National Cancer Awareness Month. However, the screenings happen year-round. The incident rate of cervical cancer in the state of Alabama was estimated at 9 per 100,000 in a study done by the Alabama Statewide Cancer Registry. It may seem insignificant, but Alabama holds one of the highest rates of cervical cancer in the country.

This is much higher than the national rate of 7.5 per 100,000. Black females are also much more likely to have and die of cervical cancer compared to white women. Incident rates in black women reach 10.2 (mortality rate is 4.8), compared to 8.7 incidents per 100,000 in white women (mortality rate is 2.9).  

Breast cancer on average is lower in Alabama than the rest of the country. However, the trend between black and white women is consistent. The incidence of breast cancer in black women is 126.5 (mortality rate is 28) versus 118.1 (mortality rate 19.9) per 100,000 in white women. 

Chambers County has the highest rate of cervical cancer in the state of Alabama. Alabama has one of the highest cervical rates in the country. Screening is not only a diagnostic tool, but can potentially save the lives of those with cancer.