The St. Mary’s County Health Department helps eligible women receive screening services for breast and cervical cancer. Through the St. Mary’s County Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program, eligible women receive regular clinical breast exams, mammograms, Pap tests, and associated diagnostic services at no cost to them. Through a separate initiative offered by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, breast or cervical cancer diagnosis and treatment services may also be covered for eligible Maryland residents.
Breast and Cervical Cancers
Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control.
When cancer starts in the breast, it is called breast cancer. Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women. Breast cancer screening means checking a woman’s breasts for cancer before she has any symptoms. A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms.
When cancer starts in the cervix, it is called cervical cancer. The cervix connects the vagina (birth canal) to the upper part of the uterus (or womb). The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is highly preventable in most Western countries because screening tests and a vaccine to prevent HPV infections are readily available. When cervical cancer is found early, it is highly treatable and associated with long survival and good quality of life.
Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program
A woman is eligible for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program (BCCP) if she is:
- 40 – 64 years old*, or over 65 without Medicare or with Medicare Part A only; AND
- A Maryland resident; AND
- Has an income less than or equal to 250% of the current Federal Poverty Guidelines; AND
- Has no health insurance or has insurance that does not pay for breast exams, mammograms, or Pap tests
*Women under 40 who are at high risk for breast cancer may still be eligible for breast cancer screening support through a partnership with MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital and Komen Maryland. Contact the St. Mary’s County Health Department at 301-475-4391 for more information.
To enroll in the program, women need to contact the St. Mary’s County Health Department. The health department team members will then determine eligibility and take a screening history. Once enrolled in the program, women will receive help with:
- Setting up cancer screening appointments with participating health care providers,
- Working through any barriers such as language or transportation issues,
- Necessary health education,
- Understanding results and provider recommendations, and
- Ongoing support through any needed diagnostic procedures
The following services may be provided based on screening and medical history:
- Clinical Breast Exam
- Pap test
- Diagnostic services following an abnormal breast or cervical cancer screening
To get more information or to enroll in the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program, contact the St. Mary’s County Health Department at (301) 475-4391.
Breast and Cervical Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Program
The Maryland Breast and Cervical Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Program is offered through the Center for Cancer Prevention and Control at the state of Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. This program reimburses participating health care providers who deliver covered breast and cervical cancer diagnostic and treatment services to eligible Maryland women. Click here for eligibility criteria, information on what medical services may be covered, and an application to enroll in the program. More information is also available by calling 410-767-6787 or 1-800-477-9774.
- Center for Cancer Prevention and Control at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
- Cancer Prevention and Control Information from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- More Information about Breast Cancer
- Cervical Cancer Screening Recommendations from the US Preventive Services Task Force
- National Cancer Institute – Cancer Screening Tests