MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – This year marks the 30th anniversary of Congress’ establishment of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, which provided the initial funding for the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program (WVBCCSP), a partnership of the WVU Cancer Institute’s Cancer Prevention and Control and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau of Public Health.
The WVBCCSP was one of the first four programs funded by the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, which was created to ensure that women have access to life-saving breast and cervical cancer screening. The WVBCCSP provides free and low-cost cancer screening, diagnostic imaging, and treatment services to West Virginia women as a means of reducing cancer incidence and mortality.
Since 1991, the WVBCCSP has enrolled 146,745 West Virginia women and provided more than 2,800,000 Pap tests, 289,000 mammograms, and 302,000 breast exams.
West Virginia women ages 21-64 who are uninsured or underinsured and meet the income criteria are eligible to receive services. For example, a woman living in a household of four with a household income at or below $66,252 can enroll in the Program. If she is uninsured, services are covered at 100 percent, and if she has co-pays or deductibles that cause financial hardship, then she can also enroll and receive assistance.
Community relationships form the foundation of the WVBCCSP and include a provider network of more than 200 primary care clinics throughout the state. Additionally, civic groups, faith-based organizations, and many others help the WVBCCSP reach women who can benefit from the program.
“The WVU Cancer Institute and WVBCCSP partnership has flourished over the years and represents a commitment to the women of West Virginia,” Stephenie Kennedy-Rea, Ed.D., director for Cancer Prevention and Control at WVU Cancer Institute, said. “The contributions of dedicated staff and community members working together exemplify how to successfully meet the healthcare needs of our citizens.”
In more recent years, the WVBCCSP team started working with the provider network focusing on the implementation of evidence-based interventions to increase breast and cervical cancer screening rates for all West Virginia women. Additionally, the WVBCCSP team partnered with employer worksites to create policy and environmental changes that increase access to screening for women who work.