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20 Years of Screening Women and Saving Lives

For more than 20 years, CDC's National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program has provided free or low-cost mammograms and Pap tests to low-income women with little or no health insurance.

CDC's National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) has come a long way since the law was passed in 1990 authorizing the formation of the program. Originally limited to 8 states, the program now reaches all 50 states, 5 U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and 12 American Indian/Alaska Native tribes and tribal organizations.

Program Achievements

Since its inception, the NBCCEDP has served more than 3.9 million women, providing more than 9.8 million breast and cervical cancer screening examinations. Its success undoubtedly has saved lives. Funded programs have diagnosed more than 52,694 breast cancers, 2,856 invasive cervical cancers, and 136,837 premalignant cervical lesions. Beyond providing direct screening and diagnostic services, NBCCEDP promotes public and professional education and supports patient case management.

Over the years, the NBCCEDP has successfully implemented modifications to improve the program's structure and level of service for women in need. For example, new legislation in 2000 allowed states to offer women diagnosed with cancer through the NBCCEDP access to treatment through a special Medicaid option. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have since approved this option.

Qualifications for Program Services

To receive NBCCEDP screenings and other services, Federal guidelines require a woman to be underinsured or uninsured, and at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level. They also must be between the ages of 40 and 64 for breast cancer screening, and 18 and 64 for cervical cancer screening services. An estimated 8 to 11 percent of women throughout the U.S. are eligible to receive services. To find out if you qualify for free or low-cost mammograms and Pap tests, contact your local program.


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