Two large grants that will help provide better screening for breast cancer and other cancers for area residents have been awarded to the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center. A five-year grant of $881,000 from the Connecticut Department of Health and a $25,000 grant from the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative have been awarded to the center, according to an announcement from Bridgeport Hospital, where the main offices of the Breast Care center are located. The Breast Care Center also has a branch in Fairfield.

The Department of Health grant will support a program that offers early detection health screening services to the uninsured and under insured, including breast and cervical cancer screening for women rarely or never screened, and colorectal cancer screening for women and men.

The goal of the Connecticut Integrated Health Screening Program is to reduce the number of deaths associated with breast, cervical and colorectal cancer through early detection screening, rescreening services, and educational activities.

The second grant supports a program to help medically under-served women navigate through all aspects of screening, diagnosis and treatment, including financial and life challenges. The goal of the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative grant is to increase the likelihood that women from communities with high rates of breast and other cancers will get the services they need to stay healthy.

Early detection allows for the initiation of treatment at earlier stages, when survival rates are significantly higher, according to Dr. Donna Twist, executive director of the Breast Care Center. "This program will save lives," she said.

For more information call 203-255-5300 or visit the Center on the web at www.bridgeporthospital.org/cancer/breast.