Federal budget cuts will eliminate breast and cervical cancer screenings for more than 1,600 women in New York state. The cuts could cost people in the Rochester community more than the dollars they will save, "I'm talking about life saving, proven, life saving programs and services," said Matt Flanigan, Regional Vice President for the American Cancer Society.
Candice Lucas, Director of Cancer Services Program of Monroe county says last year alone, her organization helped more than 1,400 women get screened for breast and colon cancers, free of charge, "these are women that are self employed we have women that are working multiple part time jobs, where none of the jobs are providing health insurance."
Lucas says early detection is vital, "the earlier you find it the more likely it's treatable and beatable."
Once the cuts take effect thousands of people will lose out on the chance for early detection. Flanigan says Governor Cuomo's proposed budget makes matters worse by requiring preventative programs to compete for financial support from a funding pool, "I find that disquieting, at best, I think it's really wrong," explained Flanigan, "to put them knowingly in this level of competition with each other, I'm left to wonder what the thinking is."
Flanigan says it's time for the community to take action by contacting their legislators, "if we allow these cuts to take place as we foresee them coming we're going to see a much harder battle with cancer, a stronger cancer burden coming our way, and we know that a tough cancer burden, it has bad ends."
A spokesman for Governor Cuomo's office is defending the new proposed funding structure. IN a statement he said, "Effective programs will continue to thrive and will even have an opportunity to receive additional funding under our reforms. Replacing an ineffective bureaucracy of 89 separate programs with a more streamlined process will result in better and more efficient services at less cost."