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Breast and Cervical Cancer Program
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for women in the United States and in Georgia. Early detection is critical; cancers found earlier are more likely to be treated successfully, and women are surviving longer with breast cancer. Through prevention initiatives such as early detection of pre-cancerous abnormalities and HPV vaccination,* cases of cervical cancer have dramatically fallen in Georgia.
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To help reduce the impact of breast and cervical cancer in Georgia, the Georgia Department of Public Health provides breast and cervical cancer screening, diagnostic services and referral to treatment as medically indicated to uninsured women residing in Georgia.
*Some women under the age of 18 may also be eligible for free or low-cost HPV vaccination. Please contact your local health department for more information.
Uninsured Georgia residents under 200 percent of the federal poverty level may be eligible, along with rarely or never screened women. Cervical cancer screening is available to women 21 to 64 and breast cancer screening is available to women between the ages of 40 and 64. To find out if you are eligible and to access services, please call your local county public health department.
High-Risk Breast Cancer Indicators
Individuals with any of the following are at high risk for breast cancer:
- Past personal history of breast cancer,
- Family history of breast cancer in a parent, sibling, or child,
- Genetic testing positive for BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene mutation or other high-penetrance breast and or ovarian susceptibility genes,
- Genetic testing not completed, but has a close (first, second or third-degree) biological relative with a BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene mutation or other high-penetrance breast and or ovarian cancer susceptibility genes;
- Radiation therapy to the chest between ten and 30 years of age; or
- Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, or Bannayan-Riley Ruvalcaba syndrome or has a first-degree relative who has any such syndrome.
Individuals identified as high risk for breast cancer by having one or more of the above risk factors should:
- Discuss with their healthcare provider to determine the appropriate course of follow-up;
- Request access to genetics provider for further education, testing, and guidance;
- Request assistance from the GA Breast and Cervical Cancer program if they are uninsured and need assistance accessing genetics or other services.
Guidance for providers for identification and follow-up of the above risk factors:
- Screen Screening tools to identify high-risk individuals:
- If an individual is identified as being at high risk they should be referred for genetic counseling including education and counseling in accordance with recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF): https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/brca-related-cancer-risk-assessment-genetic-counseling-and-genetic-testing.
- If a mutation is confirmed there may be alternate mammogram recommendations and indications for MRI depending on the mutation identified.
- Guidelines from the following can be used to determine the best management strategies: National Comprehensive Cancer Network: https://www.nccn.org/
- American Society of Clinical Oncology: https://www.asco.org/
- American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology: https://www.acog.org/
- American Association of Family Physicians: https://www.aafp.org/home.html
- Determine best options based on individual situation and preferences: heightened surveillance, chemoprevention or risk-reduction therapies.
Services provided by the Georgia Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP) include:
- Clinical Breast Examination
- Pelvic Examination
- Pap test
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) test
- Diagnostic testing of abnormal results
- Referrals to treatment through the Women’s Health Medicaid Program
Women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer through the program, or referred to the program by a physician, may be eligible for treatment through Medicaid coverage as authorized by the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment and Prevention Act passed by Congress in 2000.
Georgia Breast Cancer Genomics Project
Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer syndrome (HBOC) is an inherited tendency to develop breast, ovarian, and other cancers, and at a younger age. The majority of HBOC is due to a mutation in the two most common breast cancer genes (BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes).
Women with an inherited mutation have up to a sixty-five percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer and up to forty-four percent chance of developing ovarian cancer. Men with a BRCA mutation are at higher risk of developing breast and prostate cancer. It is estimated that with appropriate screening in Georgia, hundreds of potential BRCA related breast and ovarian cancers can be prevented.
All women should have a mammogram as appropriate for their age. To determine whether you or your patient also may benefit from BRCA testing complete the Breast Cancer Genetics Referral Screening Tool (B-RSTTM) located at www.breastcancergenescreen.org.
If a positive screening result is identified contact 404-657-6370 to locate a local county public health department or other providers near you that offers screening.
Page last updated 4/20/2021