Free mammograms and Pap tests for qualifying patients
For qualifying patients, Main Line Health offers free mammograms and free cervical cancer screenings (Pap tests) through the HealthyWoman Program, funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We provide these HealthyWoman services at Lankenau Medical Center and Bryn Mawr Hospital located just outside of Philadelphia:
- Clinical breast exam
- Pelvic exam and Pap smear
- Follow-up diagnostic tests in case of abnormal screening result
To be eligible, you must meet the HealthyWoman Program guidelines. Transgender individuals may also be eligible.
Note: If you are enrolled in Medicare Part B or Medicaid, you are not eligible for the HealthyWoman Program.
To find out if you’re eligible for free breast and cervical cancer screenings, you can call Lankenau Medical Center (Marsha Serock) at 484.476.8554 or call Bryn Mawr Hospital (Aleksandra Mounib) at 484.337.1881. You’ll know within a few minutes if you qualify.
Why screen for breast and cervical cancer
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in American women. In many cases, breast cancer can be treated successfully if it's caught in the early stages. Main Line Health recommends that women starting at age 40 begin annual breast cancer screening (mammogram). A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast that can show abnormal growths (tumors) or precancerous lumps in the breast. Finding out early if you have breast cancer means getting the right treatment sooner—which could save your life.
The HealthyWoman Program provides coverage for free, yearly mammograms, as needed or as indicated by your age and the results of your previous mammograms.
The HealthyWoman Program covers cervical cancer testing starting at age 21. This involves getting a Pap test to check for abnormalities. If you have an abnormal Pap test result, additional testing for HPV—a virus that has been shown to be the main cause of cervical cancer—may be needed.
Common mistakes women making regarding pelvic exams and Pap tests
Getting a pelvic exam and a Pap test on a regular basis is an important part of staying healthy for many years to come. Unfortunately, many women have mistaken ideas about these important exams. Here are a few of the common mistakes women make when it comes to gynecological care:
- Stopping pelvic exams and Pap tests after getting vaccinated for HPV. Even if you have received the HPV vaccination, you still need to have regular exams that allow your doctor to check for other gynecological problems. A pelvic exam involves the doctor inserting a gloved finger into the vagina to feel for abnormal growths. A Pap test involves taking a "smear" or scraping of cells from the cervix, which are then tested in a laboratory for signs of cervical cancer or other conditions.
- Stopping pelvic exams and Pap tests after having children. You're not alone if you think that it's okay to stop seeing a gynecologist after you've had children. Many women make this mistake—sometimes with fatal consequences, as the risk of cervical cancer increases with age. It's critical that you see your gynecologist as frequently as recommended and that you get the appropriate tests recommended by your doctor.
- Stopping pelvic exams and Pap tests after menopause. While women tend to be less sexually active in their 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond, the body is still functioning and there is always a risk of developing cervical cancer—even in your 80s or 90s. Pelvic exams and Pap tests are recommended for the rest of a woman's life.
What happens if you have breast cancer or cervical cancer
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer or cervical cancer through the HealthyWoman Program, you may be eligible for free cancer treatment through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Program (BCCPT), a program of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer or cervical cancer through another doctor or provider (not through the HealthyWoman Program), you may still be eligible for free cancer treatments. Your doctor can submit the application form on the BCCPT page to see if you qualify.