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OCO’s Cancer Services Program Proves Early Detection Is Best Defense Against Cancer

FULTON, NY – When Betty was 19 she felt a lump in her breast.  She was relieved when the results came back benign.

Carolyn Handville, coordinator of Oswego County Opportunities’ Cancer Services Program checks in with cancer survivor Betty for an update on her battle against breast cancer. Free breast cancer screenings provided through the Cancer Services Program led to Betty’s diagnosis and arranged for her assistance to cover the costs of her treatments.
Carolyn Handville, coordinator of Oswego County Opportunities’ Cancer Services Program checks in with cancer survivor Betty for an update on her battle against breast cancer. Free breast cancer screenings provided through the Cancer Services Program led to Betty’s diagnosis and arranged for her assistance to cover the costs of her treatments.

Twenty-eight years later however when she felt a lump in the same area, she knew what it was.

“I was scared.  I noticed that my sense of taste had changed. Certain foods that I liked and aromas that I enjoyed were now making me nauseous. I had a strong feeling that this time it was cancer,” explained Betty.

Employed, but with no health insurance, she was uncertain as to what to do next.

“I knew that without insurance there was no way my husband and I could afford treatment. I called the American Cancer Society and they suggested I contact the Oswego County Opportunities Cancer Services Program. I had heard of the program but was not aware of all the services it offered. When I called and spoke with Carolyn Handville it was encouraging.  She made me feel at ease and walked me through the whole process,” said Betty.

Handville, coordinator of the OCO Cancer Services Program, went into action immediately. During the initial phone call she was able to schedule a mammogram and an ultrasound.

“Based on the results of those screenings we recommended that Betty have a biopsy. I put her in touch with one of our breast surgeons, Dr. Dawn Holman, who discussed with Betty the recommendations and the necessary procedures to follow. When Betty was informed that the biopsy confirmed cancer I immediately contacted her to let her know that the Cancer Services Program would be covering all of her medical costs up to the diagnosis,” said Handville.

Once diagnosed, Handville was able to enroll Betty into the Medicaid Cancer Treatment program.

“It’s a wonderful program,” said Handville. “There are no income guidelines. The only criteria for eligibility are that you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are in need of treatment. It takes approximately 5 to 7 days to obtain a determination for the Medicaid Cancer Treatment Program and in the meantime doctors make the necessary oncology appointments; it moves much faster than most insurance.”

While Betty had been in remission for more than a year, cancer returned a few months ago and she is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments that are being covered through Medicaid Cancer Treatment program that Handville enrolled her in.

Thanks in part to the continued support of OCO’s Cancer Services Program, Betty maintains a positive outlook.

Betty said, “From the moment I met Carolyn she has been a cheerleader for me. No matter what the problem is, I know I can count on her for strength and support. I don’t know what I would have done without the Cancer Services Program.  Don’t wait until you think something is wrong. Thanks to the free screenings and help that I received from Carolyn I’m a survivor and a fighter!”

For information on OCO’s Cancer Services Program and the free screenings that are available through the program, contact Handville at 315-592-0830 or visit www.oco.org.