PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
March 20, 2012

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Health and Senior Services Commissioner Highlights
Cancer Screening Program for Low-income New Jersey Residents
Governor’s Proposed Budget Preserves Funding for Screening and Education Program

Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd today visited the NJ Cancer Education and Early Detection (NJCEED) Program at Saint Michael's Medical Center in Newark to highlight the availability of free cancer screenings for low-income residents who are uninsured or underinsured. Governor Christie has maintained state funding at $6 million for the NJCEED program so it can continue to serve New Jersey's most vulnerable residents.

"Cancer can be treated more effectively if found early," said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd.  "By providing free screenings to uninsured and underinsured residents, the NJCEED program has saved thousands of lives."

Coupled with additional federal funding, the Department provides a total of $9 million to NJCEED.  The goal of the program, which began in 1993, is to provide cancer outreach, education, screening, tracking, and follow-up services to persons with incomes no more than 250% of the Federal Poverty Level and to persons who are uninsured and underinsured throughout New Jersey. NJCEED provides comprehensive screening services for breast, cervical, prostate, and colorectal cancer.

For example, the Saint Michael's Medical Center In The Pink program has provided cancer screening and medical services for more than 20,000 people since 1999. The program has diagnosed more than 100 men and women with cancer, giving them the opportunity for life-saving early treatment.

"With today's economic climate, our In The Pink program is more important than ever," said Dave Ricci, president & CEO of Saint Michael's Medical Center. "We don't want any woman to die because she could not afford a mammogram or cervical cancer screening. We don't want any man to die of prostate or colon cancer because he lost his job and health insurance. We know this program saves lives."

The NJCEED Program provides funding to all 21 counties in New Jersey through 22 screening programs called NJCEED Lead Agencies.  In 2011, a total of 20,828 residents were screened for breast, cervical, prostate, and/or colorectal cancers. Through those screenings: 124 invasive breast cancers, 5 colorectal cancers, 18 prostate cancers and eight invasive cervical cancers have been diagnosed.  Since the program began in 1993 more than 1,800 cases of cancer have been diagnosed and referred to treatment.

To find a NJCEED screening site please visit: http://nj.gov/health/cancer/njceed/index.shtml