The West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program within the West Virginia Department of Health is encouraging women to be screened as part of National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. In West Virginia from 2016 to 2020, 2,248 new cases of cervical cancer were detected and 304 women died according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, early detection and treatment can greatly improve a patient’s chance of survival. Women who qualify for the BCCSP can receive free Pap tests.
“Cervical cancer was once a leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States. Through screening and HPV vaccination, the impact of this form of cancer has been greatly reduced,” said Charlene Hickman, program director. “That is why it is so important that we offer screenings to help women catch this type of cancer early.”
The BCCSP eligible population includes those who are uninsured or underinsured, at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level, aged 40 to 64 years for breast cancer services, and aged 21 and 64 years for cervical cancer services. Those who are symptomatic or high-risk under the age of 40 years and those over the age of 64 who do not have Medicare Part B may also receive services through the program.
Those who are underinsured have out-of-pocket cost sharing required by their health insurance that they cannot afford, which is often a barrier for getting appropriate testing. These individuals may be eligible to receive support from BCCSP to cover their out-of-pocket expenses.
HPV, or the human papillomavirus, is a common virus that can cause cervical cancer, among other types of cancer later in life. Children and adults may be protected from these cancers with the HPV vaccine between 9-45 years. For more information about HPV vaccination, talk to a health care provider.
To learn more about screening services available, visit WV Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program to find a local participating BCCSP provider or call 1-800-642-8522 for more information.