Breast Cancer Awareness Month | Pennsylvania Promotes Early Detection

To promote early detection, Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has emphasized the importance of breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Pennsylvania State | On Wednesday, October 12, Pennsylvania’s Department of Health reminded Pennsylvanians importance of continued breast and cervical cancer screenings while promoting early detection services.

“Now is the time to make sure you are practicing self-care, and that includes getting your screenings done,” said Acting Secretary of Health and Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson. “I am so pleased that this year we were able to conduct nearly 1,600 more screenings than last year, and we’d like to increase that number as more people become aware that early detection saves lives.”

The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends the following screening guidelines for breast cancer:

  • Women under the age of 40 should be screened if they have symptoms or are at high risk.
  • Women ages 40 to 49 should be screened every two years if the patient and the healthcare provider decide it is necessary.
  • Women 50 and older should be screened every two years.

Communicating that people who postponed screenings during COVID-19 should catch up, the Department of Health reminded Pennsylvanians of the Pennsylvania Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (PA-BCCEDP). This program provides free services like mammograms, MRIs, Pap and HPV tests, and follow-up diagnostic tests for abnormal screening results, to those who qualify. The PA-BCCEDP is funded by the department of health through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Since 1994, hundreds of healthcare providers throughout Pennsylvania have provided more than 105,000 screenings and diagnosed 4,946 breast and cervical cancers through PA-BCCEDP. This program was also able to detect cervical and breast cancer for 124 individuals among the nearly 8,600 who utilized the program in this fiscal year alone. In addition to cancer screening services, 3,323 diagnostic services for breast cancer and 475 diagnostic services for cervical cancer have been provided.

Visit the PA-BCCEDP webpage for more details on the program, a full list of requirements, and application instructions.