This month marks 30 years for Nebraska’s federally funded Every Woman Matters (EWM) program. Every Woman Matters helps women receive lifesaving screening for breast and cervical cancer. The program has served over 100,000 women since the program began. The goal of the screening program is to find cancers early when treatment is most effective.
The EWM program has provided over 130,000 mammograms and 150,000 pap smears. These screening tests have diagnosed 1,387 women with breast cancer and 98 women with invasive cervical cancer. Since the program began in 1991, breast cancer mortality rates have decreased 30%. Finding breast and cervical cancer early increases treatment options and survival. With early detection, 1,428 women have been able to detect abnormal cervical changes before they became cancerous.
The EWM Screening program provides breast and cervical cancer screening tests to women who qualify for the program. Women who enroll in the program are eligible for a Well Woman Check Up including pelvic exam, Pap test, clinical breast exam and screening mammogram. It also provides heart disease and diabetes screening including, a blood pressure check, cholesterol check, blood sugar (glucose) check, and health and wellness information. To qualify for the screening program, one must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, a woman aged 40 to 74 years old, without insurance, and within 225% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (i.e. a family of 4 could have a household income of up to $59,625). Health status is not a factor in program eligibility, as long as you fit the program criteria.
“We are here to serve Nebraska women. If you’re not sure if you qualify please call us and check. I encourage every woman to get regular screenings, for themselves and their families. Your health matters.” said Tracey Bonneau, a community health educator who has been with the program for 23 years.
The EWM Diagnostic program is another great resource for women in Nebraska. The diagnostic program pays for diagnostic procedures following an abnormal screening exam. EWM breast diagnostic services including breast ultrasound, diagnostic mammograms, surgical consultations, and breast biopsies. Cervical diagnostic services include colposcopies and consultations. To qualify for the diagnostic program one must be a woman aged 18 to 74 (for breast diagnostic services), aged 21 to 74 (for cervical diagnostic services), and meeting income requirements. Program participants may have insurance. All participants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
EWM Pap PLUS is another option for qualifying Nebraskans to receive assistance for a screening pap smear. Per the U.S. Preventative Services Task Forces (USPSTF) Cervical Guidelines, cervical cancer screenings should begin at age 21 regardless of sexual activity or other risk factors. All eligible Nebraskans are encouraged to enroll.
Finally, the program also provides colon cancer screenings to both women and men in Nebraska who are 45 to 74. You can enroll in the Every Woman Matters Program (EWM) and/or the Nebraska Colon Cancer Screening Program (NCP) by calling (800) 532-2227 to request a Healthy Lifestyle Questionnaire (HLQ), or, you can click here to fill out the online HLQ.