Life-saving cancer screenings have experienced a significant decline during the pandemic, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noting an 87% drop in breast cancer screenings and an 84% decrease in cervical cancer screenings nationally in April 2020 compared to the five previous years. Screening disparities among low-income minority women were already evident prior to COVID-19 and the pandemic has intensified those disparities.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is urging Michigan women to resume these routine screenings. People in need of screenings can call MDHHS at 844-446-8727 to speak with a program specialist.
Screening tests are proactive measures and can help find cancer at an early stage before symptoms appear. The earlier cancer is found, the easier it can be to treat. Health screenings are also important in identifying risk factors a person may have for chronic disease. Women in Michigan can take charge of their health by working with a Health Coach and making healthy lifestyle choices. They can also take advantage of free support services to maintain their health.
We are recommending women take advantage of screenings offered through MDHHS if they are not available to them through their primary care provider. Simple, proactive measures can catch cancer in its early stages and allow doctors to intervene before it progresses.
MDHHS has openings for program-eligible women to receive free cancer and health screenings through two programs:
•The Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Navigation Program provides free breast and cervical cancer screening services, statewide, to low-income women.
•The WISEWOMAN Program, available in select areas, helps participants understand chronic disease risk factors and make healthy lifestyle choices.
To learn more about these programs, call 844-446-8727 or visit Michigan.gov/cancer. For Spanish resources, call 800-379-1057.
—Dr. Joneigh Khaldun,
chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, MDHHS