To help battle Wyoming’s low mammogram screening rates, the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) continues to offer free support for breast cancer screening.
In 2014, 65.2 percent of Wyoming women age 40 and over reported having a mammogram in the past two years, according to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).
“Our screening rates remain low compared to other states, which is unfortunate because there are many resources available to help women get low or no-cost mammograms,” said Julie Tarbuck, WDH Comprehensive Cancer Control Program manager. “No woman in Wyoming should be blocked from getting a recommended mammogram because she doesn’t have insurance.”
The WDH Wyoming Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program provides free access to screening and diagnostic services to low income, uninsured and underserved women. These services include clinical breast exams and mammograms related to breast cancer detection. Pap tests, pelvic exams and other tests are also available.
The program specifically recommends women receive a mammogram every one to two years beginning at age 50. “All women should talk regularly with a medical professional about mammograms, as well as clinical and self-breast exams. Screening recommendations can be different for some of us, especially if there are certain risk factors to consider such as family history,” Tarbuck said.
Tarbuck said advances in early detection and treatment of cancer have led to a five-year survival rate of 90 percent for women diagnosed over the age of 40. “Many breast cancer survivors say getting screened with either a clinical breast exam or a mammogram saved their life,” she said.
To qualify for the WDH Wyoming Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, women must have no insurance, be at or below 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Guideline, and be age 50 and older with no risk factors. Women may also qualify if age 18 and older with suspicious symptoms, or over the age of 40 with a personal history of breast cancer.
To access the screening application, or for more information, please visit fightcancerwy.org/free-cancer-screening-programs/ or call 1-800-264-1296.