Improving Cervical Cancer Screening and Healthcare Coverage for Arizona's Native Women

Aug. 15, 2023

Cervical cancer is a significant health concern, especially for American Indian and Alaska Native women (AIAN), who face higher incidence and mortality rates than White women. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) introduced Medicaid expansions to enhance healthcare access and potentially reduce these disparities. A recent study examined the impact of Medicaid expansions on cervical cancer screening and healthcare coverage among AIAN and White women

The Findings: 

The study analyzed data from 2010 to 2020 and included 4,681 AIAN women and 57,661 White women aged 18-64 years. The results showed that Medicaid expansions were associated with an increase in healthcare coverage for both groups. AIAN women experienced a 5 percentage point increase in having a health plan, while White women saw an impressive 11 percentage point increase.

Cervical Cancer Screening: Though the study revealed no significant changes in guideline-adherent cervical cancer screening among AIAN women following the Medicaid expansions, there was a notable 2 percentage point increase in White women who had undergone a pap test within the last 5 years. While this indicates progress, it's essential to continue efforts to improve cervical cancer screening for all Arizonans.


The ACA's Medicaid expansions have positively impacted healthcare coverage for AIAN and White women in Arizona, reducing barriers to medical care. However, the study emphasizes the need for continued efforts to improve cervical cancer screening among AIAN women, who bear a disproportionate burden of this disease. By prioritizing screening and healthcare accessibility, we can work towards reducing preventable deaths and promoting better health outcomes for Arizona's diverse communities.


Resources for Cervical Cancer Screenings:

  1. Arizona Department of Health Services - Women's Health Check Program:


Phone: 1-602-542-1000

The Women's Health Check (WHC) Program provides free or low-cost breast and cervical cancer screenings for eligible women in Arizona. This program is aimed at uninsured or underinsured women aged 21-64. Women who meet the eligibility criteria can access Pap tests and other preventive services through partnering healthcare providers.


  1. Arizona Well Woman HealthCheck Program:


Phone: 1-602-542-1000

The Arizona Well Woman HealthCheck Program offers free breast and cervical cancer screenings to eligible women in the state. Women aged 40-64 who meet income and insurance eligibility criteria can access Pap tests, clinical breast exams, and mammograms through participating healthcare providers.


  1. Planned Parenthood - Arizona:


Phone: 1-800-230-7526

Planned Parenthood offers reproductive health services, including cervical cancer screenings, to individuals regardless of their ability to pay. They have health centers located across Arizona, providing accessible and confidential healthcare services.

  1. American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN):


ACS CAN is a prominent advocacy organization focused on cancer-related policies. They provide advocacy tools, resources, and guidance for individuals looking to support Medicaid expansion for cervical cancer screening. Their website offers information on how to engage with lawmakers, share personal stories, and promote policy changes.