New York is the only state that gives free cancer screenings for anyone uninsured.
The Southern Tier Cancer Service Program gives free breast, cervical, and colorectal screenings, regardless of income, health insurance, or any other factors.
Denise Argetsinger, Southern Tier Cancer Service Program Coordinator, said the main reason people do not get tested is because of fear and medical bills.
“People wait, they have symptoms and put it off,” Argetsinger said.
Patricia Tucker has lived in Elmira for 14 years. She was diagnosed with almost stage 4 colon cancer in 2006, at 42-years-old.
She now spends her days spreading awareness about the cancer.
“I teach a workshop called Dishing with Diva, and I teach women and show them how beautiful they are, because we aren’t promised tomorrow.”
Tucker went through 8 stages of chemotherapy, had no family history, and is considered young to get colon cancer. All reasons why Argetsinger says early detection is so important.
“They usually check when you are 50, I was 42. If they waited until I was 50, I would not be here right now,” Tucker said.
In Chemung County, all you have to do is call 607-873-1500 for a screening.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but does not have to be.
In New York State, African Americans are more than 70% likely to get colorectal cancer than Caucasians.
“I had a lady call me today who was 37,” Argetsinger said. “If they waited until I was 50, I would not be here right now.”
For more information visit the Southern Tier Cancer Services Program.