LEONARDTOWN, Md. (April 5, 2010)—St. Mary's Hospital and the Women's Wellness program once again received a grant from the Maryland Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure to screen southern Maryland women under 40 years old who are under- or uninsured, fall within the income guidelines, and who may be at risk for breast cancer.
The $35,354 grant, called the Pink Ribbon Project, provides free breast exams and mammograms for eligible St. Mary's residents who have an abnormal lump or concern in or near the breast or who have a sister or mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer before menopause. The project will also allow eligible women from Charles and Calvert Counties to participate this year.
Tami Gaido, St. Mary's Hospital health educator, Women's Wellness case manager and registered nurse, said this program is essential because there are state and federal programs that assist women in need of these services but nothing is available for those younger than 40.
A person should seek the exam only if she meets the grant's criteria exposure, according to Gaido, because unnecessary mammograms before age 40 do have a risk from additional radiation. Routine mammogram screening begins at the age of 40 as a woman's risk of breast cancer increases.
The program is available now and will continue until March 31, 2011. Gaido said the program can include a free breast exam and mammogram and, if needed, a sonogram and surgical consult. Although the grant does not cover surgery, Gaido said there are other programs available, such as the Diagnosis and Treatment Program through the state of Maryland and that she will assist women with the application if more care is needed.