RICHMOND, Va. -- When it comes to a woman's health, screenings are crucial.
"We know mammograms work. Mammograms find cancer earlier, " Dr. Kandace McGuire, Chief of Breast Surgery at VCU Massey Cancer Center said.
To reach and screen even more women, VCU Health is beginning The Every Woman's Life program later this month.
"It's a program that helps uninsured and low-income women gain access for free breast and cervical cancer screenings," Katie Barnes, Vice President, Oncology Service Lines at VCU Massey Cancer Center said.
Every Woman's Life is a federally funded program that's been around for 30 years. This is the first time VCU Health has applied for the grant through the Virginia Department of Health.
"It was an arduous process of applying for a grant proving we had the resources to run the program and that we had the need to run the program," McGuire said.
The need is there. Over the last 12 months, VCU Health has treated more than 7,000 uninsured women in the Richmond area.
Those women and even more would now benefit from the screening program immediately.
"These are women who are underinsured, uninsured and absolutely meet the qualifications and are not receiving these screenings today because they don't have the dollars to put forth for these screenings," Barnes said.
To qualify for the free 'Every Woman's Life' program:
- Be a Virginia resident
- Between the ages of 18 to 64
- Meet federal income guidelines
- Be uninsured
The screening can lead to annual visits.
"This is not a one-time thing. This is to get your yearly mammogram with us. We anticipate we will have this program hopefully forever," Dr. McGuire said.
If a woman has a positive cancer diagnosis after the screening, she may have additional treatment.
"They may be eligible for Medicaid to pay for that treatment as well," Barnes said.
The 'Every Woman's Life' hotline will be up and running in the coming weeks. That's when a person can check their eligibility and schedule a screening appointment.