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National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program

The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) provides breast and cervical cancer early detection testing to low-income, underserved, under-insured, and uninsured women in the US. Uninsured women who are diagnosed with cancer through the NBCCEDP can usually get treatment through Medicaid.

This program is managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It provides funding in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, 5 US territories, and 11 American Indian/Alaska Native tribes or tribal organizations.

Screening services are mainly offered through non-profit groups and local health clinics. Through these NBCCEDP partners, women without health insurance, or with insurance that doesn’t cover these tests, can get breast and cervical cancer testing for free or at very low cost.

The NBCCEDP tries to reach as many women in medically underserved communities as possible, including older women, women who are recent immigrants, and women who are members of racial and ethnic minorities. Services offered for breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnosis include:

  • Clinical breast exams
  • Mammograms
  • Pap tests
  • Human papilloma virus (HPV) tests
  • Pelvic exams
  • Diagnostic testing if results are abnormal
  • Referrals for treatment

Though the program is administered in each state, the CDC provides matching funds and support for each state program. Since 1991, the NBCCEDP has

  • Provided more than 11 million screening exams for breast and cervical cancer to underserved women
  • Diagnosed more than 62,121 breast cancers
  • Found about 163,548 pre-cancerous cervical lesions
  • Diagnosed over 3,458 invasive cervical cancers

The Affordable Care Act now helps many low-income, underserved women get breast and cervical cancer screening tests because it expanded insurance coverage and took away co-pays for these services. But even with good health insurance, many women will still have problems getting breast and cervical cancer screening because of things like:

    • Living far away from needed health care services

    • Problems understanding cancer screening and how it applies to them

    • Not having a health care provider who recommends screening

    • Inconvenient access to screening services

    • Language barriers

Situations like these are where the NBCCEDP will continue to help in the future.

To learn more about this program or to find a screening provider near you, please contact the CDC at 1-800-232-4636 or online at www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp/. Your state Department of Health can also tell you how to contact your nearest NBCCEDP partner.

No matter who you are, we can help. Contact us anytime, day or night, for cancer-related information and support. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.


Last Medical Review: 09/15/2014
Last Revised: 09/15/2014