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New program to boost cancer screenings for women


Starting next year, Ohioans will be able to give all or part of their state tax refund money to a state health program that provides cervical and breast cancer tests to uninsured women.

Republican Gov. John Kasich signed a bill into law that allows for a tax return check off to send refund money to the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, which was started in 1994. On Friday, he pledged a three-to-one match up to $1 million for any tax refund money that comes into the program.

Ohio Department of Health Director Ted Wymyslo said the program, which started in 1994, serves about 12,500 women a year. The check-off money and the match will boost capacity to handle an additional 2,500 people per year, he said.

Currently, $4.1 million in state and federal funding pays for the program. There are about 260,000 uninsured women across the state.

Ohio is 32nd in the nation for incidences of breast cancer but fourth in mortality, indicating more screenings are needed.

Kasich urged women with health insurance to get their recommended breast and cervical cancer screenings. He added that the boost in funding for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program — as well as the newly approved expansion in Medicaid — means that more low-income women will have access to these screenings.


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