Answa Newsome understands first hand of how important being aware of your health status can be, and she is extremely thankful to Cook County Health Department for helping her stay aware even when she didn’t have health insurance.
Answa came to the health department in 2022 as part of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program.
“My aunt died from breast cancer and so it was very important to me to be able to access that care,” she explained. “I am so appreciative that the BCCP program exists because when I changed jobs I lost my insurance coverage. My current employer doesn’t offer insurance and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get care.”
The focus of BCCP is to serve women 40-64 who are uninsured or under insured to detect early cancer and pre-cancers of the breast and cervix.
“Because of my family history I was told that I should start getting screenings as early as age 35,” Answa said. She joined the program as soon as she was eligible and is thankful to have access to it even without healthcare coverage and a kind environment to have her checks completed at.
“Shelby [Fulghum] at Cook County Health Department has always made me feel so comfortable and calm,” she explained. “She is always a pleasure to be around and it is so nice to have someone who can help ease some of your fears.”
“The health department is so beneficial for women. There are so many programs, whether you have insurance or not, that help women stay aware of their health status.”