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Pa. Funding for Cervical Cancer Prevention Services Ends

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, poor, uninsured women in Pennsylvania will no longer have life-saving services because state funding for the Cervical Cancer Prevention Project has ended. "Poor women are going to get cancer and die because the Pennsylvania Legislature ended funding for this critical program," declared Dorothy Mann, Executive Director, Family Planning Council in Philadelphia. Mann added, "We had a Democratic supporter who worked with a key House Democratic Appropriations Leader to keep the program funded. Now, they either have not, or will not, commit the funding after agreeing to do so in May. What makes this so frustrating is that those in the House Democratic Caucus whom we relied on to fund this program are supporters of our patients, supportive of this program and supportive of the entire Family Planning network of services."

Since 2002, $1 million in annual state funding has been available to provide services to prevent cervical cancer for poor, uninsured adult women under 40 in Pennsylvania. Funded through the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Cervical Cancer Prevention Project is managed by the statewide network of family planning programs. Among the services provided are the Thin-Prep Pap test, HPV typing and limited treatment, including colposcopies, for pre-cancerous conditions. "Over the past six years, 300,000 cancer screening procedures and treatments have been performed. This program finds cancer early and saves lives!" said Ms. Mann. She added, "The newest findings about the HPV screening test is great for women. Unfortunately, it won't be available to uninsured women in Pennsylvania."

The original funding for the Cervical Cancer Prevention Project was initiated by State Senator Robert Jubelier in 2002. During the FY 08 budget process, key Democratic leaders of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives were unsuccessful in continuing the funding. "In a $27.5-billion state budget, we find it hard to believe that $1 million cannot be set aside to save women's lives!" said Rick Baird, CEO & President, Adagio Health in Pittsburgh.

Nationwide, about 11,150 cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed and almost 4,000 women will die from the disease. In Pennsylvania, 135 women die from cervical cancer each year. With early detection and treatment, cervical cancer is considered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to be almost 100% preventable.

The Cervical Cancer Prevention Project is managed by the Family Planning Council in Philadelphia, Maternal & Family Health Services in Wilkes-Barre, the Family Health Council of Central Pennsylvania in Camp Hill, and Adagio Health in Pittsburgh.

SOURCE Family Planning Council
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