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This January, during Cervical Cancer Prevention Month, North Dakota’s breast and cervical cancer early detection program, known as Women's Way, encourages women to stay on track with important preventive health screenings – including cervical cancer screenings. Women’s Way is administered through North Dakota Health and Human Services and local health partners.

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 93% of cervical cancer cases are preventable through regular screenings like Pap tests and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) screenings. Screenings should be a top priority for those who are due for one.

“Screening guidelines vary by age. We encourage women to talk to their health care provider about whether they are due for screening, which screenings are right for them, and how often they should be screened,” said Women’s Way Director Susan Mormann.

A general guideline, she said, is that women ages 21 to 29 should have a Pap test every three years. Beginning at age 30, a Pap test along with an HPV test is recommended every five years, as long as test results are normal. Some women may benefit from more frequent screening and should talk to their health care provider about their risk.

“Symptoms of cervical cancer typically don’t appear until the cancer has grown into nearby tissue. That’s why early detection is your best protection,” Mormann said. “We remind women who are concerned about the cost of breast and cervical cancer screenings, that Women’s Way may be able to provide a way to pay.”

Help with Screening Costs

Women’s Way serves North Dakota women ages 21-64 who have qualifying incomes and are uninsured or underinsured, including having high deductibles and co-pays. As many as 17,000 North Dakota women may qualify for help covering the cost of breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Local Women’s Way coordinators can help women enroll in the program and connect with screening services.

Find out more about Women’s Way by visiting hhs.nd.gov/womens-way or calling (701)328-3398 or (800) 449-6636, 711 (TTY). 

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