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Chronic Diseases and Conditions; Health Reform; Cancer


Screening to promote early detection of cancer is a fundamental tool in preventive medicine and public health that facilitates earlier treatment and reductions in cancer mortality. Systematic reviews of the research demonstrate that early detection and treatment for breast and cervical cancers can reduce cancer-related mortality. One of the most important barriers to women being screened is the lack of health insurance coverage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) administers two programs designed to increase screening, particularly among low-income and vulnerable populations: the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) and the Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP). NBCCEDP operates through a series of grants provided to state, territorial, and tribal agencies that help fund screening and related promotion/prevention interventions, particularly aimed at low-income uninsured and underinsured women who would otherwise be unable to afford the costs of clinical breast exams, mammograms, Pap smears, cervical exams, and related screening and diagnostic tests. CRCCP operates on a similar basis and serves low-income uninsured and underinsured men and women who cannot afford fecal occult blood testing (FOBT), sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy and related tests.


This report was supported by cooperative agreement #5U50DP001863-03 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and by the American Cancer Society (ACS).

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