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 their state’s Medicaid program.

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 it started in 1991, the NBCCEDP has

  • Served more than 4.6 million women
  • Provided more than 11 million screening exams for breast and cervical cancer
  • Diagnosed more than 64,000 breast cancers
  • Found about 167,000 pre-cancerous cervical lesions
  • Diagnosed over 3,500 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 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

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP). Accessed at on May 14, 2015.

Lantz PM, Mullen J. The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program: 25 Years of public health service to low-income women. Cancer Causes Control. 2015;26:653-656.

Last Medical Review: May 14, 2015 Last Revised: May 14, 2015

American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material. For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.