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Erie County’s health commissioner, Dr. Gale Burstein, has urged all women to have regular mammograms once they reach 50, regardless of whether they have health insurance, and urged women to take advantage of the county’s subsidized screening program for the uninsured.

The commissioner’s comments came on the heels of a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey that showed disparities among the percentages of insured and uninsured women between 50 and 64 years old who reported having regular mammograms. According to the 2010 survey, 80 percent of privately insured women but only 39 percent of uninsured women reported having had mammograms within the past two years.

Burstein said that, locally, the Erie County Cancer Services Program is available to help all women get access to breast cancer screenings and life-saving treatments, regardless of their insurance status.

The program offers free mammograms to women who qualify, using subsidies provided by the state Health Department and the CDC.

For more information on eligibility and enrollment in the Cancer Services Program, call 858-7376.