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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: May 22, 2012


Free Cancer Screening and Treatment Options for Delawareans

In the ongoing fight to reduce cancer incidence and mortality in Delaware, the Department of Health and Social Services, Representative John Carney, Dr. Stephen Grubbs of Medical Oncology Hematology Consultants, William Bowser, chair of the Delaware Cancer Consortium, and others gathered today at the Claymont Community Center to celebrate the work of Screening for Life and the Community Healthcare Access Program (CHAP). These Delaware Division of Public Health programs offer free cancer screenings to the uninsured and underinsured, and treatment to the uninsured.

Growing out of the work of the Delaware Cancer Consortium and state government efforts to fight cancer, along with the support of federal funding, Screening for Life and CHAP were created to address the needs of the many who fall between the cracks - not eligible for Medicaid but still unable to afford full insurance coverage.

"Delaware has made such progress in the battle against cancer, but people are still impacted every day by this terrible disease," said Governor Jack Markell. "Screening for Life and CHAP show how we can come together as a community and provide cancer screenings and treatment for those most in need."

"For those who think they cannot afford cancer screenings, the Screening for Life program can make a huge difference in their lives and their health," added Rita Landgraf, secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services. "Early screening and detection are vital to better outcomes for cancer treatment. Screening for Life has provided literally thousands of screenings since the program began."

From inception of the program in 1997 through June 2011, Screening for Life provided nearly 38,000 breast screenings, more than 34,300 cervical screenings and 3,800 colonoscopies. Delaware has one of the highest screening rates in the country for both colorectal and breast cancer. In addition, the state's colorectal cancer screening rate rose by 30 percent in the last decade, with increases occurring among both men and women, and for people of different races.

"Prevention and early detection are key to making progress in the fight against cancer," said Congressman Carney. "Too many Delawareans skip doctor's visits or their regular screenings because they are uninsured or underinsured. Screening for Life and CHAP are designed to help these members of our community get the care and treatment they need. We've made great strides in recent years, particularly in eliminating the disparity in colorectal cancer screening rates between Caucasians and African Americans. I'm confident that we can continue this work to help more Delawareans lead healthier, happier lives."

To qualify for Screening for Life, a person's income must be between 100 percent and 250 percent of the federal poverty level, or a maximum annual income of $57,625 for a family of four. Delawareans must also meet residency requirements and be uninsured or underinsured. The type of screenings covered varies by age depending upon risk category.

"Cancer treatment and medical care are constantly evolving," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health. "At Public Health, we know that patients with medical homes - places to seek regular care - have better care outcomes at a lower cost. CHAP offers many important services, but a critical component is providing that crucial link to a medical home and cancer treatment."

As a partnership program to Screening for Life, the CHAP provides access to primary care doctors, medical specialists, and other health resources, including prescription programs, laboratory and radiology services. CHAP program staff is available to assist individuals in establishing a health home, scheduling appointments, and removing barriers to obtaining healthcare services. CHAP is open to individuals who meet the income guidelines (100 percent to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or up to $46,000 for a family of four), are uninsured, and are Delaware residents.

''Delaware has made great strides in cancer identification and treatment," said Dr. Stephen Grubbs. "We have literally closed the health disparities gap between African Americans and whites in colorectal cancer rates. This would not be possible without the hard work of physicians, the Cancer Consortium, state and federal support, and the many community agencies that support this important work."

For further information on SFL or CHAP or additional services for cancer support, call the Delaware Helpline at 211 or 302-744-1040. For recommendations on cancer screening guidelines or to learn more, visit

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.