All Idaho women need access to healthcare, no matter their income. The Idaho Women’s Health Check program can provide that healthcare coverage for cancer screenings and diagnosis for women in the state who are eligible.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer for American women — 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer during their lifetimes. Cervical cancer is not as common, but it is the easiest gynecologic cancer to prevent with regular screenings. Even so, around 13,000 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed this year in the United States, and nearly 4,000 women will die from it.
Both of these cancers are more easily discovered with regular screenings. Having regular mammograms can reduce a woman’s risk of dying from breast cancer. In Idaho, only lung cancer causes more deaths for women. Regular screenings for cervical cancer is critical because there are often no symptoms in the early stages of the disease.
This is why DHW’s Women’s Health Check program is so important. It enrolls an average of 4,000 women per year. Women with incomes of less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level, who have no health insurance coverage for Pap tests or mammograms, and who meet certain age requirements are eligible for the program.
Women who are 50 to 74 years old, should have a screening mammogram every two years. Women who are 40 to 49 years old should talk to their doctors about when to start and how often to get a screening mammogram. For cervical cancer, a Pap test, which is very reliable and effective, is recommended for all women between the ages of 21 and 65 years old every 3-5 years, depending on their ages.
To find out if they are eligible, women can call the Idaho Careline at 2-1-1 or visit www.womenshealthcheck.dhw.idaho.gov for a list of coordinators throughout the state.