Gay Polido, Pearl City, HI

Gay Polido’s discovery of a lump in her breast was bad.  No health insurance for a mammogram made it worse.

As a small business owner, Gay Polido was struggling just to make ends meet.  When she discoverd a lump in her breast in early 2002, Gay attempted to visit a doctor for a mammogram.  However, she was turned away at the door.

Without insurance, the doctor refused to see her.  “I offered to pay for the cost of the mammogram, but he said no,” Gay says. Scared and discouraged, Gay didn’t know where to turn.

Two years later, a friend told her about free breast and cervical cancer screenings for women without health insurance.

“By the time I found the Hawaii Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program, I was dangling by a thread,” says Gay. “I was ready to give up.” However, according to Gay, “this program really saved my life.”

Since 1991, the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Program has provided more than 6.9 million screening exams for uninsured and underinsured women.  The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network continues to advocate for increasing federal funding for this program, enabling it to reach an addition 130,000 women, like Gay.

“I want to let other women in the community know about this service.”