To improve access to life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings, Congress passed the Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention Act in 1990, directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to establish the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), a program to assist low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women in accessing breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services that are free or low-cost.
Since its inception in 1991, NBCCEDP-funded programs have served more than 4.8 million women, provided more than 12 million breast and cervical cancer screening examinations, and diagnosed more than 67,959 breast cancers, 3,715 invasive cervical cancers, and 171,174 premalignant cervical lesions.
The program currently faces several challenges, most notably funding. The program funding has been targeted for cuts based on the assumption that more women will have health coverage as a result of the ACA, and thus will be able to get the services elsewhere. However, challenges remain for women who live in states that have not expanded Medicaid, fail to obtain insurance coverage, have limited health literacy and face language barriers. Building on years of experience, NBCCEDP is capable of helping these populations and complementing the ACA’s coverage mandate.
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