All Patients, Regardless of Insurance, Must Have Access to Cancer Screening
To increase access to breast and cervical cancer screening, U.S. Congress passed the Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention Act of 1990, which led to the creation of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp/about.htm) (NBCCEDP). Because of NBCCEDP, eligible women who are low-income, underserved, and underinsured receive free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic testing.
Women with comorbidities are less likely (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1877782116302533?via%3Dihub=) to participate in breast and cervical cancer screenings, but their participation increases (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03630242.2016.1145169?journalCode=wwah20) if facilities offer recommendations to screen, flexible appointment times, and greater organizational commitment to quality and performance.
I believe if we prioritize more of our time, energy, passion, and money into upstream prevention efforts, mortalities across the country will decrease significantly. This is true for cancer, diabetes, gun violence, chronic disease, family planning, and many other public health concerns.
Adagio Health currently manages (https://www.adagiohealth.org/cancer-screening-programs) two breast and cervical cancer screening programs in 62 western, central, and northeastern Pennsylvania counties. Our screening services include:
- Clinical breast exams
- Breast cancer self-awareness education
- Mammograms (including three dimensional)
- Pap tests
- Human papillomavirus tests
- Diagnostic follow-up testing
Adagio Health’s Mammogram Voucher Program offers free mammograms and breast diagnostic services for un- or underinsured patients and has no income, gender, or age restrictions. Our team is trained to navigate patients every step of the way, and qualified patients receive the services at no cost.
We always follow the evidence for our cancer prevention programs. The cancer screening department looks at health insurance, cancer incidence, and cancer mortality data in proposed areas of need. If the data suggest a disparity, we consider potential funders for programs. Currently, Adagio Health receives funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and local private foundations that focus on cancer prevention strategies.
We market and advertise our programs through social media, local press, and other communications. Patients are referred to Adagio Health’s Call Center (800-215-7494), where our patient navigators connect eligible patients to participating healthcare providers for accessible cancer screening services.
Everyone needs to be informed by their healthcare provider about their screening options because early detection is the best tool we have to control cancer mortality. Although cancer screening cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find cancer early when it is easier to treat. Plus, cancer screening gives patients the power to make informed decisions about their health.