During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control wants to remind women of the importance of identifying breast cancer as early as possible.
About 40,000 women die annually from breast cancer, according to the CDC, but survival rates are improving due to increased awareness of early cancer detection and improvements to cancer screening. To help women take control of their health and continue the positive trend in survival rates, DHEC offers free breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings to qualified women through its Best Chance Network (BCN) program.
“Regular breast cancer screening can catch a cancer early, when it is most treatable,” said Dr. Virginie Daguise, MSPH, Director of DHEC’s Bureau of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention. “Through the Best Chance Network and our many partners, we aim to increase screening among South Carolina’s most vulnerable women in order to reduce disparities and save lives.”
BCN provides free breast cancer screenings for qualifying women between the ages of 30 and 64 and free cervical cancer screenings for women between the ages of 21 and 64. Women must be residents of South Carolina and have household incomes at or below 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit. Women with insurance also may be eligible to receive services if they meet all of the eligibility requirements and their insurance has a deductible of $1,000 or more, does not cover screening or diagnostic services at 100 percent or provides hospitalization coverage only.
BCN, which is administered by DHEC’s Cancer Prevention and Control Division, currently contracts with more than 450 health care providers across the state. Since its inception in 1991, this DHEC program has provided more than 230,000 cancer screenings to South Carolina women. BCN provides breast and cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic follow-up throughout the state.
To learn more about the Best Chance Network, including eligibility guidelines, or to learn about breast cancer prevention and statistics, visit scdhec.gov/breastcancer or call the Division of Cancer Prevention Hotline at 1-800-450-4611.