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We provide breast, cervical, and colon screenings to Washington residents who do not have insurance or have insurance with a high deductible. Cancer screenings can be lifesaving when cancer is found early and when it may be easier to treat. The program connects adults with diagnostic services and treatment and work to improve access to services, especially for people who face additional hardships to getting health care. The ages included are related to the Breast, Cervical and Colon Health program. Screening may start earlier and may continue well beyond your 70s based on your personal risk.

Pink ribbon: Breast cancer

When you should get screened for breast cancer:

  • Breast screening is recommended at ages 40-64
  • At age 40 talk to your medical provider about when and how often you should have breast cancer screening
  • Women 50 years and older, a mammogram is recommended every year
  • The program may provide services for women under 40 if there is increased risk for cancer
  • Your medical provider may do a Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) as part of the screening
  • Men and trans men and women should discuss their personal risk with their medical provider and get screened accordingly
Learn how to get a free health exam and mammogram

Green ribbon: Cervical cancer

When you should get screened for cervical cancer:

  • Women age 21 – 29, a Pap test alone is recommended every 3 years
  • Women age 30 – 64, co-testing, Pap and HPV is recommended every 5 years or Pap test alone every 3 years
  • Trans men should discuss personal risk with their medical provider
Learn how to get a free health exam

Blue ribbon: Colon cancer

When you should get screened for colon cancer:

  • Colon screening is recommended for all adults ages 50-64
  • At age 50, Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) is recommended every year
  • Colonoscopy is recommended as prescribed by your medical provider
  • The program may provide services for people under 50 if there is a family or personal history of colorectal cancer. Talk with your medical provider.
Learn how to get a free health exam

Case study

A 48 year old patient came in several times for shortness of breath. After several visits with us and had been seen by a cardiologist, there was no medical explanation that could be found for her complaint. During one visit with us, a routine screening mammogram was ordered by her provider. Her mammogram showed a mass that was biopsied and resulted in fast growing stage 3 breast cancer.

The patient did not have insurance or the money to pay for the urgent mastectomy that she needed. Her son, who she was still supporting was away at college, was planning to drop out and get another job to help her with these expenses.

We had the patient come into our clinic to speak to our Client Service Representative (CSR) to enroll in insurance. She was distraught waiting in the lobby. The CSR saw her, and the patient proceeded to tell her how she was just diagnosed on Friday (the Friday before a 3-day weekend) with rapidly growing breast cancer. She has a good job but they do not provide her with any insurance coverage. As she made decent money, she did not qualify for the Affordable Care Act. She was willing to buy coverage but the CSR informed her that the start date for her newly purchased insurance (Qualified Health Plan) would not be until the first day of the following month. It was the 3rd when she was being told this, so the patient became inconsolable thinking about not being able to have the much-needed surgery for almost an entire month. She was told by a health care facility that she had to schedule the surgery immediately.

The CSR was not able to help the patient any further so she went to the Quality Improvement Coordinator who works with the Breast Cervical and Colon Health Program in hopes that they might be able to help her. The QIC quickly reviewed the patients chart and realized that she makes too much to qualify for the BCCHP program as well. She then checked the charity care guidelines for Swedish and realized that the patient makes too much money to qualify for that as well. But as this was something so urgent and the patient really had no other options, the QIC decided to call her contact at BCCHP just to see if there was anything that they could do or if they knew of another option that we could try.

One of the team members at BCCHP was very understanding and informed me that if the patient had declined to enroll in a Qualified Health Plan, that she would (only then) be eligible to be fast tracked onto the BCCHP Treatment program which would help her to get Medicaid coverage which would cover all of her medical expenses both related and unrelated to this cancer diagnosis.

With the resources that we have with our clinic partner and in the BCCHP program, we were able to get her entire surgery, chemotherapy, and all other related medical expenses covered.

The patient is now recovering from her mastectomy and states she is eternally grateful for the clinic she receives her care with. Her son is still in college and because of the ample assistance we were able to provide, the patient is still able to work and help support him financially to ensure he is able to focus on his studies!

Link/share our site at www.kingcounty.gov/cancer