All women are at risk for breast and cervical cancer but the good news is, regular screenings can prevent these diseases or find them early.
Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women. Regular mammograms are the best tests doctors have to find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before it can be felt. A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. Doctors use a mammogram to look for early signs of breast cancer. When breast cancer is found early, many women go on to live long and healthy lives. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends that if you are 50 to 74 years old, be sure to have a screening mammogram every two years. However, if you are 40 to 49 years old, talk to your doctor about when to start and how often to get a screening mammogram.
Cervical cancer used to be the leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States. However, in the past 40 years, the number of cases of cervical cancer and the number of deaths from cervical cancer have decreased significantly. This decline largely is the result of many women getting regular Pap tests, which can find cervical precancer before it turns into cancer. The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for precancers, cell changes, on the cervix that can be treated, so that cervical cancer is prevented. The Pap test also can find cervical cancer early, when treatment is most effective. The Pap test is recommended for women aged 21-65 years old.
You may be eligible for free or low-cost screenings through The Kentucky Women’s Cancer Screening Program if you meet these qualifications:
• You are between 40 and 64 years of age for breast cancer screening
• You are between 21 and 64 years of age for cervical cancer screening
• You have no insurance, or your insurance does not cover screening exams.
• Your yearly income is at or below 250% of the federal poverty level