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This Program Could Save Your Life
Cancer Services Program of Saratoga County

Seven years ago, Suzanne Farr was on the verge of panic. She was uninsured, had just discovered a lump in her breast, and didn't know where to turn.

Then she saw an ad for free breast cancer screenings from Saratoga Hospital through the New York State Department of Health Cancer Services Program.

Farr was right to be concerned about the lump—it was cancerous. She had surgery, followed by radiation treatments at the Hospital's Mollie Wilmot Radiation Oncology Center and five years of hormone therapy. Because she was diagnosed through the Cancer Services Program, almost all her expenses were covered.

Farr makes no bones about it: “This program saved my life—literally and financially.”

Today, she is cancer-free and working as the Cancer Services Program outreach coordinator of Saratoga County. “I know the program and I know what it's like to have cancer,” she says. “I can help people navigate both.”

The program offers the following screenings for uninsured individuals:

  • Free colorectal cancer screenings, men and women 50 and older
  • Free cervical and breast cancer screenings, women 40 and older

In 2017, Saratoga Hospital provided over 300 free breast, cervical, and colorectal screenings through the Cancer Services Program. Some found cancers that otherwise could have gone undetected much longer.

In cases like Farr's, where screening finds a potential problem, patients will have additional diagnostic tests to confirm whether the problem is cancer.

“We know that cancer is usually more treatable when it is detected early,” says Jill Strock, Cancer Services Program Manager. “Early detection saves lives, like our Suzanne's.”

The Cancer Services Program also helps connect patients to another resource: the New York State Medicaid Cancer Treatment Program (MCTP), which covers breast, cervical, colorectal, and prostate cancer care for patients who need treatment, are without health insurance, and meet further eligibility requirements.

Currently, 20 Saratoga County residents are receiving treatment through MCTP. Of those, 95 percent are women with breast cancer. The remaining 5 percent are men with either colorectal or prostate cancer. 

“All of these cancers were caught by lifesaving screenings, available free of charge, right here in our county,” Strock says. “There is no reason to skip them.”

For information or an appointment, call 518-580-2132.

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