According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that 207,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and some 40,000 will die from the disease.
Furthermore, an estimated 12,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer, and another 4,000 will die from it. For more than 25 years, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP) at the Carroll County Health Department has offered free mammograms and GYN exams to age and income eligible women.
Similar to programs statewide, the Carroll County BCCP program saw its number of enrolled women decline in 2014, as many Marylanders became eligible for the new Medicaid Expansion. The income guidelines for adults to qualify for Medicaid increased from 115 percent to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level and many low-income residents became insured through Medicaid.
In July 2015, BCCP began offering Patient Navigation services to women who meet program eligibility criteria, but have Medical Assistance, private insurance, or Medicare Part B that fully pays for breast and cervical cancer screening services. Through Patient Navigation, Carroll County BCCP staff are able to help eligible women with selecting a doctor, scheduling their breast and/or cervical cancer screening appointments, finding transportation to appointments, understanding test results, and arranging any follow-up services that may be recommended by a health care provider. The Patient Navigator will also assess each woman and link her to community resources for any additional needs or concerns.
Today, the Carroll County BCCP continues to also offer valuable services to eligible women in Carroll County who are uninsured or underinsured. Eligible women can receive free mammograms, breast exams, and PAP tests. If a woman has an abnormal finding or result, BCCP Navigator can help her apply for the State of Maryland's Diagnosis and Treatment Program to assist with costs of:
- Diagnostic testing;
- Surgical evaluation;
- Treatment (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation).
If you need assistance with navigating the healthcare system or don't have any healthcare coverage, please call Carroll County Health Department's Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program at 410-876-4423 to find out if you qualify for this program. You are not alone and our Navigators can assist you in taking care of yourself.
Barbara White is the Cigarette Restitution Fund Program Coordinator for the Carroll County Health Department.