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Don’t let COVID put off your cancer screening tests

Feb. 4, [was] National Cancer Prevention Awareness Day, but being aware is not enough.

According to two April 2020, reports, cervical cancer screening dropped nationwide by 83 percent, mammograms by 87 percent and colonoscopies by 90 percent. 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 Fulton, Montgomery and Schenectady counties is urging anyone overdue for these screenings to talk to your health care provider about getting them back on the calendar. 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 least every two years.

Women ages 21 to 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 (866) 442-2262 today to find out if you qualify for free cancer screenings.

SUZANNE HAGADORN

Program manager

Amsterdam

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