Wisconsin Well Woman Program Offers Free Breast Cancer Screenings

Monday, October 8, 2018 - 9:56am

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women. One in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. Breast cancer rates for white women have generally stabilized in the past few years, but incidence rates among black women continue to rise.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Wisconsin Well Woman Program (WWWP) provides free breast cancer screenings for women with limited income and little or no insurance. The Well Woman Program is a statewide program that offers free breast exams, mammograms, and other diagnostic tests for eligible women ages 45-65, and women ages 35-44 who have breast symptoms or concerns.

“Enrollment in the program is quick and easy and can be completed over the phone in 10 minutes by calling 608-242-6392,” says Kari Sievert, WWWP Coordinator for Dane and Rock Counties. “Once enrolled, exams are available at more than 35 clinics in Dane and Rock Counties.” Women outside Dane and Rock Counties can call 1-800-722-2295 to enroll or visit https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/wwwp.

Breast cancer screening is important because when breast cancer is found early, there are more treatment options and many women, once treated, remain cancer free.
“It is important to know when to have your first mammogram and how often to be screened,” says Sievert. “Being able to talk with a doctor about your personal circumstances, risk factors, and screening options can be life changing.”

Breast cancer disparities for African American women are startling. It is particularly important for women of color to be screened regularly. Despite having similar incidence rates to white women, African American women are about 40% more likely to die from breast cancer and are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a later stage of the disease when treatment options are limited, it is more costly, and the prognosis is poor.

The WI Well Woman Program has been administered by Public Health Madison and Dane County (PHMDC) since 1994 and serves more than 600 eligible women each year. For additional information call (608) 242-6392.

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