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 all women that they should be screened for cervical cancer, one of the most treatable cancers when it is detected early. Women in New Hampshire who meet income criteria 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 cancer. According to the National Vital Statistics System, during the years 2004–2008, there were 215 cases of cervical cancer and 84 deaths in New Hampshire. In the years 2004–2008, there were 62,577 cases of cervical cancer in the United States and 19,779 deaths.
“Regular screening is one of the most valuable and effective tools we have against cervical cancer,” said Dr. José Montero, Director for the Division of Public Health at DHHS. “Since there are often no early symptoms with cervical cancer it is important that women seek out screening services. Over 24,000 New Hampshire women have received the recommended screening and care needed for breast and cervical cancer through the Let No Woman Be Overlooked program.”
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. If women meet the age and income criteria they could receive FREE cervical cancer screening in New Hampshire.
To receive National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) screenings and other services, federal guidelines require a woman to be uninsured or underinsured and live 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 $37,825. The Let No Woman Be Overlooked program follows nationally recognized screening recommendations for cervical cancer screening. The BCCP recommends women age 21–64 receive a Pap test every 3 years. Women ages, 30–64 can opt for a screening with Pap test and HPV test every 5 years. 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.