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National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program

The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) provides breast and cervical cancer early detection testing for low-income, underserved, under-insured, and uninsured women in the US.

This program is managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It provides funding in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, 6 US territories, and 13 American Indian/Alaska Native tribes or tribal organizations.

Screening services are mainly offered through non-profit groups and local health clinics. Through these NBCCEDP partners, women without health insurance, or with insurance that doesn’t cover these tests, can get breast and cervical cancer testing for free or at very low cost.

The NBCCEDP tries to reach as many women in medically underserved communities as possible, including older women, women who are recent immigrants, and women who are members of racial and ethnic minorities. Services offered for breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnosis include:

  • Clinical breast exams
  • Mammograms
  • Pap tests
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) tests
  • Pelvic exams
  • Diagnostic testing if results are abnormal
  • Referrals for treatment

In addition to funding screening and diagnostic services for eligible women, the NBCCEDP works to find ways to increase high-quality breast and cervical cancer screening. These include helping health facilities put programs in place, connecting women to screening services in their community, and working with leaders to increase access to cancer screening.

Getting treatment can be a challenge for some women diagnosed with cancer through the NBCCEDP. To help, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act (BCCPTA) was passed. This law allows states to provide Medicaid benefits to women younger than 65 years old who are diagnosed with cancer by the NBCCEDP and do not have insurance. Eligibility for these Medicaid benefits vary by state. Another bill was passed in 2001 stating that the Medicaid option also applies to Native American and Alaska Native women who receive health care through the Indian Health Service or a tribal program.

    The Affordable Care Act helps many low-income, underserved women get breast and cervical cancer screening tests because it has expanded insurance coverage and has taken away co-pays for these services. But even with good health insurance, many women will still have problems getting breast and cervical cancer screening because of things like:

    • Living far away from needed health care services
    • Problems understanding cancer screening and how it applies to them
    • Not having a health care provider who recommends screening
    • Inconvenient access to screening services
    • Language barriers

    Situations like these are where the NBCCEDP will continue to help.

    To learn more about this program or to find a screening provider near you, please contact the CDC at 1-800-232-4636 or find screening in your state by searching online at Your state Department of Health can also tell you how to contact your nearest NBCCEDP partner.

    The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

    Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP). Accessed at on July 21, 2020.

    Lantz PM, Mullen J. The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program: 25 Years of public health service to low-income women. Cancer Causes Control. 2015;26:653-656.

    Last Revised: December 5, 2022