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February is National Cancer Prevention Month

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By: Anthony Matrisciano
February 11, 2013

Recent grants from The Blue Ribbon Foundation support cancer screenings for more than 500 uninsured patients 

Wilkes-Barre, PA – February marks National Cancer Prevention Month, and The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BCNEPA) has recently funded programs that will provide cancer screenings and education to at-risk individuals throughout northeastern Pennsylvania.

During 2012, more than $18,000 in Foundation funding was awarded to early detection and treatment initiatives, resulting in more than 500 uninsured residents being screened for colon, breast and/or cervical cancer.

In Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wayne counties, the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute’s (NRCI) Cancer Patient Navigation Programprovided colon, breast and cervical cancer screenings to more than 400 un/underinsured individuals thanks to a $8,372 Foundation grant.

Laura Toole, LCSW, Director of Community and Patient Services for NRCI, explained that health screenings often are not a priority for many who are un/underinsured since basic needs such as paying for rent, food, child care and transportation must be met first.

“Through the financial support of many partners like The Blue Ribbon Foundation, we are discovering health issues earlier – when treatment may be more successful and less expensive – because of these screenings,” said Toole.  “This is one example of how organizations can successfully work together to address problems that affect all facets of society.”

Patients received the screenings at six free and federally qualified health clinics that identify at-risk individuals who may not have access to preventive and follow-up medical care due to financial status or issues with communication or transportation.

Cynthia A. Yevich, executive director of The Blue Ribbon Foundation, agreed with Toole that organizations can work together for successful results.  “Routine screenings are critical to the early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer,” she said.  “By working with community health organizations such as NRCI, The Blue Ribbon Foundation is making a meaningful investment in the health of northeastern Pennsylvania.”

Since 2003, The Blue Ribbon Foundation has awarded grants totaling more than $92,000 to NRCI for its cancer prevention, screening, treatment and education initiatives.

BCNEPA established its private, nonprofit Blue Ribbon Foundation in 2002 to invest in health education and prevention initiatives that produce measurable health improvements and help manage long-term health costs for the residents of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.  During its first decade of service, The Foundation has awarded nearly $10 million in grant funding to 170 nonprofits to help meet the health and wellness needs of more than 186,000 at-risk individuals.

About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCNEPA offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to more than 540,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. The company’s mission is to provide integrated health care services and products to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care in the populations it serves.