Free mammograms

LANSING – Sen. John Proos reminded Southwest Michigan women ages 40 and older to consult with their doctors on their annual breast checkup and encouraged uninsured women to take advantage of a program that provides free mammograms to qualified residents.

“Nearly everyone has had a family member battle breast cancer or knows someone who has been impacted by this terrible disease,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Sadly, only 30 percent of Southwest Michigan women ages 40 and older get annual mammograms – compared to 62 percent statewide and up to 70 percent nationally. As we honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we must work to boost the number of women in our region who take the important and life-saving step of getting a mammogram.

“Thankfully, we have an excellent program right here in Southwest Michigan to provide free mammograms to uninsured women. I urge all eligible women to take advantage of this valuable service. It only takes seconds and can save your life.”

The Pink Saturdays Breast Cancer Screenings program provides free mammograms to qualified area women on the Saturdays in October as well as selected weekdays during the month. The program is in its fifth year and has screened more than 4,300 women.

National studies indicate that, when compared to women over 40 who have health insurance, uninsured women who develop breast cancer are twice as likely to die of the disease.

“Early detection of breast cancer is vital to improving your chances of survival, which is why annual screenings are so important,” Proos said. “This year the Pink Saturdays program expects to screen more than 1,600 women. I support this program because it will save lives and give options to those who do develop cancer.”

Eligibility requirements for the free mammograms include that a woman is uninsured, 40 to 64 years old, has a household income of less than $50,000 and is a resident of Allegan, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph or Van Buren counties.

To schedule a Pink Saturdays breast cancer screening call 1-800-873-0649.