Program covers breast and cervical cancer care

Womankind has unveiled a program that helps not only pay for tests, but also helps fund treatment if necessary.

“We can help up to two hundred women in the Florida Keys this year alone,” said Kim Romano, executive director of Womankind.

Free health screenings for breast and cervical cancer — funded by the Center of Disease Control and the Florida Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program — provides free screening for qualified women but more importantly, help with funding treatment if diagnosed.

Women between the ages of 50 and 65, who have a social security number, live in Monroe County and are without insurance may be eligible for Womankind’s new program. If cancer is detected, then patients will be immediately be enrolled with the FBCCED and guided into a special Medicaid program that will fund treatment for up to five years. With today’s health care system still in flux, programs like these are vital to the health of our community.

The first qualification is that the initial screening take place within the program, either at Womankind in Key West or with Dr. David Forest, board-certified gynecologist, with Fishermen’s Hospital in Marathon. Screenings cover breast and cervical cancer; ovarian cancer will not be included.

Lenise Banwarie, program manager with state Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, will coordinate with two Keys hospitals — Fishermen’s Community Hospital and Lower Keys Medical Center. After the initial screenings and diagnostics, the hospitals will work with Medicaid and treat the program’s patients. (This is a statewide program and if a patient chooses, she may seek treatment anywhere in the state of Florida.)

“Screening is the best protection, but our hope is nobody falls through the cracks afterwards,” said Banwarie, referencing the importance that follow-up treatment be funded as well.

Nadyne Fundora, with the FBCCED, will serve as the Keys case manager. She said she hopes that within three days of diagnosis, the patients will be enrolled in the special Medicaid program to cover treatment, chemotherapy and even reconstructive surgery.

Before this program, Romano relied on the help of the Zonta Club for providing free screening vouchers and Dr. Michael Klitenick offering many pro bono services. With the FBCCED program, she said Womankind will offer more security and sustainability to Keys’ women in need and their health care providers.

For more information go to or to see if you qualify call the American Cancer Society National Hotline at 1-800-227-2345 to get more information on the program. 

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