News Release

October 6, 2010

OHCA Contact: Carter Kimble, Public Information Manager, (405) 522-7474.

Oklahoma Cares About Breast Cancer

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahomans are no strangers to the significance of breast cancer in the state. Celebrations, fundraisers, races and memorials are taking place all over the state and nation in October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

In the battle against breast cancer, survivors, advocates, community organizations, Oklahoma legislators, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Cherokee Nation, Kaw Nation of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Department of Human Services created the Oklahoma Cares program.  

Oklahoma Cares is a program for Oklahoma women with no insurance coverage who meet income qualifications and are between the ages of 19-65 with an abnormal breast or cervical finding or diagnosis of breast or cervical cancer. The program is currently helping more than 2,100 women across the state. As of August of this year, almost 25,000 Oklahoma women have received services through the Oklahoma Cares program.

"It is as important now as it ever was for Oklahomans to be aware of the Oklahoma Cares program and, if qualified, the services available to them,” said Garth L. Splinter, M.D., M.B.A., Oklahoma’s Medicaid director.

The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states Oklahoma had the ninth highest breast cancer death rate in 2006, with 25 out of every 100,000 Oklahoma women dying from breast cancer.

However, according to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for localized breast cancer is 98 percent. The rate decreases sharply if cancer is not caught and treated in the earliest stages: Regional stage has a five-year survival rate of 84 percent, while late stage has a five-year survival rate of 23 percent.

“I would encourage all women to get a mammogram if they haven’t had one in the past couple of years,” Splinter continued.

“These screenings have helped save lives through early detection, which leads to receiving treatment during earlier stages.”

The Oklahoma Cares program allows qualified women to receive full SoonerCare benefits for the duration of their cancer treatment. Women are qualified to receive full benefits from the program as long as they are in need of cancer treatment.

In order to be qualified for the program, women must be screened for breast or cervical cancer under the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (BCCEDP) and found to have either an abnormal screening result or precancerous condition or to be in need of treatment for either breast or cervical cancer.

If an abnormal screening result is found by a non BCCEDP certified screener, patients may take a copy of the report to a certified provider to become qualified. Find a certified BCCEDP screening provider in your area by contacting:

  • Oklahoma State Health Department, (866)550-5585.
  • Cherokee Nation, (877) 458-4491 or (918) 458-4491.
  • Kaw Nation of Oklahoma, (580) 362-1039, ext. 207.

Women age 40 and older who are already enrolled in the SoonerCare (Oklahoma Medicaid) program may receive screening mammograms every two years. Women enrolled in SoonerCare who are younger than 40 and are designated at high risk for breast cancer by their physician may also receive the screenings every two years.

To learn more about the Oklahoma Cares program guidelines and services, visit www.okhca.org/ok-cares or call the Oklahoma State Department of Health at (866) 550-5585.

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