St. Mary's Hospital Receives $10,000 Grant for Breast Exams

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St. Mary’s Hospital and the Women’s Wellness Program received a new grant from the Maryland Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure to screen under or uninsured women younger than 40 years old, who fall within the income guidelines, and may be at risk for breast cancer. 

The $10,000 grant, called the Pink Ribbon Project, provides free breast exams and mammograms for eligible St. Mary’s County residents who have an abnormal lump or concern in or near the breast, or have a sister or mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer before menopause.

Tami Gaido, hospital health educator, Women’s Wellness case manager and registered nurse, said this program is important because there are state and federal programs that assist low-income women in need of a breast and cervical screening age 40 to 64, but nothing has been available for women younger than 40.

Gaido stressed seeking the exam only if a person meets the grant’s criteria.  Unnecessary mammograms before the age of 40 do have a risk from additional radiation exposure. Routine mammogram screening begins at the age of 40 as a woman’s risk of breast cancer increases.

The program is available now and will continue until the money runs out.  Gaido said the program can include a free breast exam and mammogram.  A sonogram and surgical consult can also be arranged if needed. The grant does not cover surgery, but she said there are other programs available, such as the Diagnosis and Treatment Program through the state of Maryland, and she will assist women with that application if more care is needed.

The American Cancer Society estimated that in 2008, approximately 3,670 Maryland women would be diagnosed with breast cancer and 830 would die from the disease.  Maryland ranks fifth in the nation for breast cancer death rates, according to the State Cancer Profiles. 

For more information contact Gaido at Women’s Wellness at (301) 475-4391.   

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