Breast, Cervical Cancer Program Treats About 10,000 Women in California
About 10,000 women in California have received treatment for breast or cervical cancer under a two-year-old program funded by the state and the federal Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act, according to a report released this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation and George Washington University, the Sacramento Bee reports. Under the program, the state covers all treatment costs for people who do not meet federal eligibility requirements, including men with breast cancer, women older than age 65 and recent immigrants.
The program is "part of a tiny new trend in public health insurance: coverage of poor adults for the treatment of specific diseases," according to the Bee. In addition to breast and cervical cancer, another California program provides treatment to uninsured men with prostate cancer, but state funding for the program "is in doubt," the Bee reports.
Alina Salganicoff, director of women's health policy at Kaiser Family Foundation, said that the breast and cervical cancer program is "an important opportunity" for women with those diseases, "but we look at this as a model." She added, "In terms of expanding coverage to the uninsured, we need to go much broader than one disease at a time."
The report also found that the state and health care providers could publicize the program more effectively. Focus groups conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation involving program participants in San Diego and San Francisco indicated many women in the state are unaware that funding for treatment for breast or cervical cancer is available.
Salganicoff said, "I think there is still some work to do in terms of getting the word out so women know they have this safety net."
According to the Bee, a spokesperson for the Department of Health Services said the agency official responsible for cancer treatment programs was unavailable for comment Monday (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 11/2). The report is available online.