On the Road to Wellness
Digital mammograms are available at Whidbey General and at the hospital's North
and South Whidbey Community Clinics.
"On the Road to Wellness: Services to Prevent Cancer" by Renee Yanke, ARNP, MN, AOCN, Oncology Advanced Practice Nurse, Cancer Program Manager at Whidbey General
Debra is a 40-year-old woman who has recently moved to Whidbey Island and is self-employed as an artist. She moved from out-of-state after becoming unemployed, with limited benefits. Debra knew she had missed physicals in the past several years and that she should be having her PAP tests and should have her first mammogram this year.
She spoke with a neighbor and learned about the Breast Cervical and Colon Health Program (BCCHP). This state-funded program screens qualified women for breast and cervical cancer, and both men and women for colon cancer — cancers that are curable if found early.
Visit the American Cancer Society for cancer screening guidelines and more information on early detection.
Eligibility for BCCHP
People are eligible to access the BCCHP based upon age and income. Generally, women between 40 and 60 are candidates for the breast and cervical health program. Both men and women 50 to 64 years of age are eligible for the colon screening program. People at 250% of the Federal Poverty Level are eligible for both programs (breast/cervical and colon). If a woman is 35 to 39 and has symptoms of breast cancer, she is also eligible. The Komen Foundation has provided funds to allow women at 250-300% of the Federal Poverty Level to access breast screening mammograms.
If people are diagnosed with breast, cervical or colon cancer, they apply to DSHS for funds to pay for cancer treatment.
Access on Whidbey Island
The Breast Cervical and Colon Health Program for Island County is managed by Citrine Health in Everett, Wash. They have contracts with clinics, labs and hospitals to provide care. Currently, North and South Whidbey Community Clinics are contracted to provide care, along with Whidbey General, for mammograms, labs and other services. Planned Parenthood provided these services until last December when the Oak Harbor office closed.
If a person is being seen at either the North or South Whidbey Community Clinic, she or he may request a referral to BCCHP if the provider has not already done so. If a person does not have a provider (MD, PA or Nurse Practitioner) he/she may establish with a provider at North or South Whidbey Community Clinic and have a referral made to the BCCHP. Because people often have multiple health problems, they will be asked to pay the sliding scale fees to cover the visit unrelated to breast, cervical and colon health.
Men and women who wish to access the BCCHP may also call Citrine Health to enroll. Ann Miles, the enrollment coordinator, can be reached at 425-259-9899. She will help people determine if they are eligible for screening and help arrange appointments. Screening coverage is funded annually from sources such as the Federal CDC, Washington state and the Komen Foundation.
Debra called one of the clinics for an appointment. She also went to the BCCHP website and learned she was eligible for a referral. She decided to keep her clinic appointment and be checked for overall wellness such as, blood pressure, heart and diabetes, and request a referral to the BCCHP. She knew she was taking steps to monitor her health and prevent a more serious cancer diagnosis down the road.
For more information on guidelines and federal poverty guidelines for BCCHP eligibility, call or visit:
- American Cancer Society
- Washington State Breast, Cervical and Colon Health Program
- Whidbey Island access for BCCHP via Citrine Health at 425-259-9899
- March 2012 guidelines from United States Preventive Health Services