Over the last 40 years, the number of cervical cancer cases has dropped dramatically worldwide.
That said, we still have work to do to empower women throughout California to take the steps needed to protect themselves from cervical cancer.
According to the American Medical Women's Association, approximately 12,000 women in the United States are diagnosed each year with cervical cancer and an estimated 4,000 women die unnecessarily from the disease. Regular Pap tests can save lives, and a vaccine approved in 2006 can largely prevent the virus responsible (the human papilloma virus, or HPV) for the development of cervical cancer.
Due to legislation carried by state legislative Democrats, California law now requires insurance plans to cover any cervical cancer screening tests recommend by the federal government. As the HPV vaccine is recommended, it is covered.
In addition to the fact that insurance plans now cover the HPV vaccine, state law also created the “Every Woman Counts Program” that provides free clinical breast exams, mammograms, pelvic exams and Pap tests to California's underserved women.
This “Every Woman Counts Program” could save lives, and I encourage you to share this new information with your friends and loved ones.
Every Woman Counts (EWC) Program
The Department of Health Care Services, Every Woman Counts (EWC) Program, provides eligible women with free breast and cervical cancer screening services, such as mammograms, clinical breast exams, Pap tests, and human papillomavirus (HPV) tests (in combination with a Pap test).
Women are able to call an automated referral line at (800)-511-2300 or use an Online Provider Locator (http://dhcs.ca.gov/EveryWomanCounts) to find up to ten doctors or clinics in their area that provide these services. Both the automated referral line and the Online Provider Locator are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In order for women to be eligible for free EWC services, they must:
- Live in California
- Have no or limited health insurance
- Have health insurance with a co-payment or deductible, they can't afford
- Not be eligible for Medi-Cal
- Have income up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level
- Be at least 40 years of age for a clinical breast exam and a mammogram
- Be at least 21 years of age for a Pap test
EWC assists eligible women with enrollment into the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program.
For more information, please contact the EWC Program at (916) 449-5300 or go to http://dhcs.ca.gov/EveryWomanCounts.
*Information provided by the State of California—Health and Human Services Agency Department of Health Care Services.