National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program


About the Program

Through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides low-income, uninsured, and underserved women access to timely breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services.

To improve access to screening, Congress passed the Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention Act of 1990, which guided CDC in creating the NBCCEDP. Currently, the NBCCEDP funds all 50 states, the District of Columbia, 5 U.S. territories, and 12 American Indian/Alaska Native tribes or tribal organizations to provide screening services for breast and cervical cancer. The program helps low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women gain access to breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services. These services include—

  • Clinical breast examinations.
  • Mammograms.
  • Pap tests.
  • Pelvic examinations.
  • Diagnostic testing if results are abnormal.
  • Referrals to treatment.

In 2000, Congress passed the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act, which gives states the option to offer women in the NBCCEDP access to treatment through Medicaid. To date, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have approved this Medicaid option. In 2001, with passage of the Native American Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Technical Amendment Act, Congress explained that this option also applies to American Indians/Alaska Natives who are eligible for health services provided by the Indian Health Service or by a tribal organization.

Program Eligibility

An estimated 8%–11% of U.S. women of screening age are eligible to receive NBCCEDP services. Federal guidelines establish an eligibility baseline to direct services to uninsured and underinsured women at or below 250% of federal poverty level; ages 18–64 for cervical screening; ages 40–64 for breast screening.