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10/09/13: Poloncarz Announces Cancer Screening Grant


$187,500 Grant from NYSDOH will Provide Screenings to Uninsured, Underinsured County Residents

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz and Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein jointly announced that the Erie County Department of Health (“ECDOH”) has received a grant for $187,500 from the New York State Department of Health (“NYSDOH”) that will allow ECDOH to provide breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening to over 1,600 uninsured and underinsured residents of Erie County (“the County”). The screenings will be fully funded through the grant, with no local share associated with this health program.

“Screenings are a vital and necessary tool for early detection, giving people a warning about possible problems and more time to address them,” said Poloncarz. “This grant will assist in providing that information to uninsured and underinsured residents across Erie County, helping them to make educated decisions about their health moving forward.”

The NYSDOH has provided funds for such cancer screenings since 1998 under an arrangement with Erie County and the local chapter of the American Cancer Society. However, following an internal restructuring, the American Cancer Society has determined that it can no longer support the screenings and staff required to conduct them. Facing a critical need for such screenings and with NYSDOH funding in place for up to four years, the County will now provide this important service in-house. 

“The number of new cancer cases can be reduced and many cancer deaths can be prevented through routine cancer screening. Research shows that screening for cervical and colorectal cancers as recommended helps prevent these diseases by finding precancerous lesions so they can be treated before they become cancerous,” said Burstein. “Screening for cervical, colorectal and breast cancers also helps find these diseases at an early, often highly treatable stage. A person’s cancer risk can also be reduced by receiving regular medical care, avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol use, avoiding excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays form the sun and tanning beds, and being physically active.”

Under the provisions of the grant three full-time, NYSDOH-funded positions (Community Coalition Coordinator, Senior Case Manager-Cancer Services, and Medical Record Technician) will be created in the ECDOH and charged with coordination of the screening program.

For more information on the Cancer Services Program of WNY, visit    http://www.cspwny.org/index.html