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Health

Wisconsin Well Women Program helps women afford breast and cervical cancer screenings

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One in eight women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their life.

Finding it early, is the best way to increase your chances of surviving it.

But for many women, health insurance doesn’t cover mammograms until they’re 52 or other financial restrictions prevent them getting one.

The Wisconsin Well Women Program is meant to eliminate that barrier.

It provides funding to cover costs of breast and cervical cancer screenings.

“That includes mammograms, ultrasounds, and other diagnostic tests for breast cancer screenings and then HPV pap tests for cervical cancer,” said Ann Huntoon. She is a public health nurse for Oneida County Health Department and regional coordinator for the program.

The program is for women ages 45 to 64 and who meet certain federal income brackets. Women 35 to 44 at high risk for breast cancer may also be eligible.

Huntoon urges women to make regular screenings a priority.

“Early detection is the best protection. Studies have shown that the earlier a cancer is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat, the less expensive it is to treat, and the higher survival rate is for that woman,” said Huntoon.

It’s not just paying for the screening that can be an issue.

Some women fear getting a screening because they don’t think they’ll be able to afford treatment if they do have cancer.

“If that should happen the natural progression from our program is to be transitioned into the Wisconsin Well Women Medicade program. That covers those treatment services,” said Huntoon.

Some health organizations recommend starting regular mammograms at 40, while others say 45.

It’s best to talk with your healthcare provider about what’s best for you.

Huntoon says anyone interested in learning more about the program should contact her.

You can call her at 715-369-6119, email her at ahuntoon@co.oneida.wi.us , or stop by the Oneida County Health Department.

Huntoon’s region covers Oneida, Ashland, Bayfield, Florence, Forest, Iron, Price, Sawyer and Vilas counties.

You can also learn more about the program on the Department of Health Services website.

Huntoon also says she’s available to come talk about the program for various groups and organizations.