Concord, NH – The United States Congress has designated January as Cervical Health Awareness Month. The New Hampshire Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP) at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) would like to remind women that they may be eligible for free screening services through the Let No Woman Be Overlooked program.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cervical cancer was once the leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States. Over the past few decades, cervical cancer–related deaths have decreased significantly. The decrease is mostly due to women receiving regular preventive screening services such as a Pap test. A Pap test is a procedure to detect early changes in cells from a woman’s cervix before the changes become cancerous. In 2008, the CDC reported there were 12,410 new cervical cancer cases in the U.S., and 42 of those cases were reported in New Hampshire.
“Regular screening is one of the most valuable and effective tools we have against cervical cancer,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “Because of the Let No Woman Be Overlooked Program, over 24,000 New Hampshire women have received the recommended screening and care needed for breast and cervical cancer since its inception.”
The Let No Woman Be Overlooked program provides screening and diagnostic tests. Most women diagnosed through the BCCP with cancer are eligible for Medicaid to pay for the costs of treatment. Services are provided at the community level statewide through participating primary care offices, community health centers, and hospital clinics. Many women are not aware that if they meet the age and income criteria they too could receive FREE cervical cancer screening in New Hampshire. To receive National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
(BCCEDP) screenings and other services, federal guidelines require a woman to be uninsured or underinsured and at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level. For example, for a family of two the annual income limit in New Hampshire is $36,775. The Let No Woman Be Overlooked program recommends women eighteen and older receive a Pap test every 1–2 years. If a woman has three normal Pap tests in a row, her healthcare provider may recommend an alternate screening schedule.
To determine if you or someone you know is eligible, please call 1-800-852-3345, ext. 4931 or visit the BCCP on the web at www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdpc/bccp/index.htm.