Clinics That Offer Free or Low-Cost Pap Smears

Pap smears are an important screening tool in cervical cancer diagnosis

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Unfortunately, due to a lack of health insurance and financial struggles, many women miss having regular ​Pap smears.​

But thanks to government and nonprofit programs, no woman has to go without having a regular Pap smear because of financial concerns. This is because of local county health departments across the country, as well as a federally funded program, offer low cost or free Pap smears and/or HPV testing, an essential screening test for cervical cancer. The program also covered diagnostic testing when required and referrals for treatment of abnormal results.

Low Cost and Free Pap Smear Clinics

Local county health departments and women's clinics offer free and low-cost Pap smears. For the uninsured, the cost of the test is usually based on income level.

Your local Planned Parenthood may also offer low-cost Pap smears. Planned Parenthood is an organization that offers sexual and reproductive health care to individuals, regardless of income.

You can find your local Planned Parenthood clinic by visiting their website or by calling (800) 230-PLAN.

The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program

The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program is a federally funded program that helps uninsured and underinsured women get regular Pap smears.

The program is available to eligible women ages 21 to 64 who have no insurance (or whose insurance does not cover screening exams) and whose yearly income is at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level. Women between the ages of 40 and 64 can also undergo breast cancer screening. Some women who are younger or older than these ages may also qualify based on risk factors.

Services Offered

Depending on your needs, services offered by the program may include:

  • Pap smears (cytology)
  • HPV testing (a test for human papillomavirus (HPV))
  • Pelvic exams
  • Clinical breast exams
  • Mammograms
  • Diagnostic testing (further testing that may be needed if your results are abnormal)
  • Treatment referrals (if treatment is needed based on your results)

Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines

In 2020, the American Cancer Society developed screening guidelines for women at average risk of developing cervical cancer. These include:

  • An initial primary HPV test (an approved test for high risk strains), cotesting with an HPV test and Pap smear (cytology), or Pap smear at age 25.
  • For those who have normal results, an HPV test or cotesting should be repeated each year until the age of 65. (If only a Pap smear is done, this should be repeated every 3 years).
  • Testing may stop at age 65 in women who have never had significant abnormalities on screening and have had negative screening tests for the previous 10 years.

For those who have had an abnormal screening test, or who have risk factors such HIV or taking immunosuppressive drugs, additional testing and procedures may be needed.

Finding a Test Center

To receive a free or low-cost Pap smear through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, simply find the state in which you reside on the list below and call the provided toll-free number.

Alabama

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
(334) 206-3905

Alaska

Breast and Cervical Health Check
1 (800) 410-6266 (in state)
1 (907) 269-3491 (outside of state)

American Samoa

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
011 (684) 633-2135

Arizona

Well Woman Healthcheck Program
(602) 542-1001

Arkansas

BreastCare Program
1 (877) 670-2273

California

Cancer Detection Programs: Every Woman Counts
(916) 449-5300

Colorado

Colorado Women's Cancer Control Initiative
1 (866) 692-2600
(303) 692-2600 (in state)

Connecticut

Breast and Cervical Cancer Program
1 (860) 509-7804

Delaware

Screening for Life
1 (888) 459-2943

District of Columbia

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
(202) 442-5900
(888) 833-9474

Georgia

Breast and Cervical Cancer Program
(404) 657-6611

Guam

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
1 (850) 245-4455
1 (617) 735-7174

Hawaii

Hawaii Breast and Cervical Cancer Program
(808) 692-7460

Idaho

Women's Health Check
1 (800) 926-2588

Illinois

Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program
1 (888) 522-1282

Indiana

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
(317) 234-1356
(800) 433-0746

Iowa

Care for Yourself
1 (800) 369-2229

Kansas

Early Detection Works
1 (877) 277-1368

Kentucky

Kentucky Women's Cancer Screening Program
(502) 564-7996 Ext. 3821

Louisiana

Louisiana Breast and Cervical Health Program
1 (888) 599-1073

Maine

Breast and Cervical Health Program
1 (800) 350-5180 (in state)

Maryland

Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program
1 (800) 477-9774

Massachusetts

Women’s Health Network
1 (877) 414-4447

Michigan

Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program
1 (800) 922-MAMM

Minnesota

SAGE Screening Program
1 (888) 643-2584

Mississippi

Mississippi Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
1 (800) 721-7222

Missouri

Show Me Healthy Women Program
(573) 522-2845

Montana

Breast and Cervical Health Program
1 (888) 803-9343

Nebraska

Every Woman Matters Program
(402) 471-0929 (in Lincoln)
1 (800) 532-2227 (outside Lincoln)

Nevada

Women's Health Connection
1 (888) 463-8942 (in state)
1 (775) 684-5936 (outside of state)

New Hampshire

Breast and Cervical Cancer Program

New Jersey

Cancer Education and Early Detection Program
1 (800) 328-3838

New Mexico

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
(505) 222-8603
(877) 852-2585

New York

Cancer Services Program
1 (800) 4-CANCER
1 (800) ACS-2345

North Carolina

Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program
1 (800) 4-CANCER (in state)
1 (919) 715-0111 (outside of state)

North Dakota

Women's Way Program
1 (800) 449-6636 (in state)
1 (701) 328-2333 (outside of state)

Ohio

Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Project
1 (800) 4-CANCER

Oklahoma

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
1 (888) 669-5934

Oregon

Breast and Cervical Cancer Program
(971) 673-0984

Pennsylvania

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
1 (800) 4-CANCER

Puerto Rico

Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Program
(787) 274-3300

Republic of Palau

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
011 (680) 488-4612

Rhode Island

Women's Cancer Screening Program
(401) 222-1161

South Carolina

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
1 (800) 227-2345

South Dakota

All Women Count!
1 (800) 738-2301(in state)

Tennessee

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
(615) 532-8494

Texas

Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program
(512) 458-7796

Utah

Utah Cancer Control Program
(801) 538-6712

Vermont

Ladies First
1 (800) 508-2222 1 (800) 319-3141 (TDD)

Virginia

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
1 (800) ACS-2345 (in state)
1 (804) 786-5916 (outside of state)

Washington

Washington Breast and Cervical Health Program
1 (888) 438-2247

West Virginia

Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program
1 (800) 4-CANCER

Wisconsin

Well Woman Program

1-608-266-8311

Wyoming

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
1 (800) 264-1296

Getting Your Results

If your results are normal, your doctor or her nurse may call you, or instead you may get a letter in the mail informing you of your results. If you don't hear back, make sure you call. No news doesn't mean good news, and sometimes test results become lost in the shuffle. Make sure to call your doctor if you have any questions about your result as well.

When you get your results, your doctor will also recommend when you should next be seen for screening.

In some cases, a Pap smear may be done alone without HPV testing. If this is the case and your test is abnormal, your doctor may recommend doing human papillomavirus (HPV) testing as well. The good news is that that HPV test can often be done on the sample that was already taken for your Pap smear, so doesn't usually require another visit.

HPV is a viral infection that is responsible for most cases of cervical cancer. While you may hear that most people acquire an HPV infection as some point in their lives, only high-risk strains are associated with the development of cancer. The test that is done will check for these high-risk strains. Even if you have an infection with a high-risk strain of HPV, however, over 50% of these infections resolve on their own without treatment.

If your Pap smear and/or HPV tests are abnormal, your doctor will look at these as well as your age, your medical history, and your past history of cervical screening tests to determine what, if any further testing is needed.

A Word From Verywell

Screening for cervical cancer may sound frightening, but cervical cancer is one type of cancer that can almost always be prevented with careful screening and follow-up. In fact, it's thought that with appropriate screening, 97% of these cancers can be detected at a precancerous stage when they can be treated and eliminated. For this reason, regular screening, following up for any additional tests that are recommended (such as colposcopy), and contacting your doctor with any questions at all are vital in managing your health and living your best life.

Cervical Cancer Doctor Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide for your next doctor's appointment to help you ask the right questions.

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Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Fontham ETH, Wolf AMD, Church TR, et al. Cervical cancer screening for individuals at average risk: 2020 guideline update from the American Cancer SocietyCA Cancer J Clin. 2020. doi:10.3322/caac.21628

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cervical Cancer is Preventable. Updated 01/06/20.

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