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Kentucky Women's Cancer Screening Program

The Kentucky Women's Cancer Screening Program provides free or low-cost mammograms and Pap tests through the health department in every county. These services are available every year for women age 21 to 64 who do not have health insurance to cover the cost. If you are age 20 or under, call your local health department to find out what services are available for you.

The program, part of CDC's National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, also provides diagnostic services and, if cancer or pre-cancer is found, treatment services are available.

 

Three factors are used to determine eligibility for breast cancer screening:
1. Age (21-64)
2. Uninsured (no Medicaid, no Medicare, no private insurance)
3. Income less than 250 percent of of federal poverty guidelines

For more information, call the Laurel County Health Department.

 

What screening tests do I need?

If you are age 18 or older, you may need a yearly:
Breast exam by a health professional
Pap test and pelvic exam
Instruction in breast self-exam

If you are ago 40 or older you may need a yearly:
Breast exam by a health professional
Pap test and pelvic exam
Mammogram

 

What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is an x-ray that checks for cancer of the breast. It can find cancers that are too small for your doctor to feel. Having a mammogram every year gives you the best chance of finding breast cancer at its earliest stage. If the cancer is found soon enough, your chances of surviving are very good - about 90 percent.

 

How is a mammogram done?

You will stand in front of a special x-ray machine. A technologist will place your breast on a clear plastic plate. Another plate will firmly press your breast from above. The plates will flatten the breast, holding it still while the x-ray is being taken. You will feel some pressure. The other breast will be x-rayed in the same way. The steps are then repeated to make a side view of each breast. You will then wait while the technologist check the four x-rays to make sure the pictures do not need to be re-done. Keep in mind that the technologist cannot tell you the results of your mammogram.

 

What is a Pap test?

A Pap test checks for cancer of the cervix. A Pap test checks for problems that might turn into cervical cancer. The cervix is the opening to the womb, or uterus. Getting a Pap test once a year can give you the best chance of finding any problems when they are easiest to treat. This is the best way to prevent cervical cancer.

 

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer occurs when cells that are not normal grow inside the cervix. The cervix is part of the female reproductive system. It is found in the lower part of the uterus, or womb.

 

What increases your risk for Cervical Cancer?
  • HPV (Human Papillomavirus), a group of common viruses. It causes almost all cervical cancers. HPV is spread through sexual contact. Keep in mind that most women who have HPV do not get cervical cancer. Having the virus increases your risk of getting cervical cancer.
  • Having many sexual partners
  • Smoking Cigarettes
  • Having many pregnancies
  • Using birth control pills for five years or longer
Cervical Cancer Symptoms

Most of the time there are no symptoms of cervical cancer at first. As the cancer becomes more advanced, abnormal bleeding from the vagina occurs frequently.

 

Why should you get screened?

The Pap test actually looks for cells that are not normal before they become cancer. The test also can find cervical cancer in its early stages, when it is easiest to treat. This is important because cervical cancer is almost 100 percent curable when found early.

How smoking can affect your Pap test:
  • Women who smoke are more likely to have an abnormal pap smear and cancer of the cervix.
  • Chemical from tobacco smoke can be detected in cervical secretions of smokers. These chemicals constantly irritate the cervix and may activate HPV, a virus associated with cervical cancer.
  • Smoking ties up the body's immune system. Cells that would normally fight infections and abnormal cells are constantly busy fighting the chemicals in cigarette smoke. This allows abnormal, cancerous cells to grow faster.

 

Click the links below for more information on Breast and Cervical Cancer:

 

Kentucky Women's Cancer Screening Program Webpage

 

National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) Webpage