The Stony Brook ChildrenÕs Hospital, center, is shown on Friday,...

The Stony Brook ChildrenÕs Hospital, center, is shown on Friday, July 21, 2023. The Stony Brook Cancer Center is shown at left. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

The American Cancer Society is partnering with several health facilities on Long Island to improve breast, colorectal, cervical and lung cancer screening rates.

The projects at Northwell Health Center Institute, Northwell Health Dolan Family Health Center, Stony Brook University Hospital, Stony Brook Children's primary care and Stony Brook Medicine seek to improve cancer screenings or HPV vaccination rates, the American Cancer Society said.

Dr. Linda Mermelstein, associate director of community outreach and engagement at the Stony Brook Cancer Center, said in a statement to Newsday that working with the American Cancer Society has led to an increase in cancer screening rates at Stony Brook internal medicine and family and preventive medicine primary care clinical practices.

Mermelstein said also partnering with the Suffolk County Cancer Services Program has helped increase screenings for the uninsured and underinsured.

"These collaborative projects have led to system improvements in the way we offer screenings," she said.

The partnership may also offset some dips in cancer screenings that happened early in the pandemic when some medical facilities closed, and some patients avoided the doctor’s office out of fear of contracting coronavirus.

A recent study led by American Cancer Society researchers said that millions of people missed cancer screenings in the second year of the pandemic, according to the organization. For instance, fewer women reported getting a cervical cancer screening, dropping by 4.4 million in 2021 compared with 2019 levels, the American Cancer Society said.

In 2021, the American Cancer Society launched "Get Screened,” an initiative to help increase the screening rates in regional and local engagement partners, the organization said.

"So, we wanted to get ahead of that [and] provide backing to our system partners to help them bring those screening rates back up," said David Pulli, the American Cancer Society’s senior director for cancer center partnerships for New York and New Jersey.

In the program's first year, 88% of health systems saw an uptick in cancer screening rates in at least one screening area, the organization said in a statement.

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