January is a cervical cancer awareness month. Even though cervical cancer is not the number one cause of death among women in United States anymore, the statistics are not the same for Hispanic women.
After the Pap Test was introduced doctors could catch the disease at an early stage when it could be treated successfully and because of that there was a huge decline in this type of cancer. Unfortunately the decline did not affect much Hispanic women. Many Latinas still face this scary, diagnosis without knowing that there is help available to them. (For complete information about cervical and other types of cancer, statistics and risk factors in Spanish please visit http://www.cancer.org/espanol/index)
There are many reasons why Hispanic women do not do regular Pap tests. Besides the fact that many Hispanic women often put their families’ well being before their own, lack of insurance is one the biggest reason why many Latinas skip their scheduled Pap tests. In addition to cost concerns many women do not know where to go and who to contact.
The Iowa Care for Yourself (Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program) and Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program are great resources for women who need help with the cost of annual breast and cervical cancer screenings. These programs help eligible women to get screening and diagnostic services, including mammograms, to see if they might have breast or cervical cancer.
For detailed information about Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program residents of Iowa should contact Dona Bark, RN at (563) 421-1913 or (563) 244-4925 and Illinois residents, please, contact Karri Williams at (309) 558-2906.
For more information about eligibility and Iowa Care for Yourself program please visit http://www.idph.state.ia.us/CFY/
Because the Iowa Care for Yourself Program and Illinois BCCEDP have age and income guidelines, women who do not qualify for those programs can still receive help from the Voucher Program to pay for mammograms. For more information about the Voucher Program please call program assistant Corie Boris at (563) 421-1921 or toll fee 1-888-532-7140.
In order to be eligible for the Voucher Program women have to be residents of the following counties in Iowa: Scott, Clinton, Muscatine and Cedar. Illinois: Rock Island, Whiteside, Henry, and Mercer
Yes, the statistics show that Hispanic women are still at a very high risk of dying form cervical cancer, but this can change. In order to be able to take care of families, Hispanic women have to take care of themselves first. Programs like Iowa Care for Yourself Program, the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program are great resources for women in need of help. Above all, these programs do not have any requirements for citizenship.