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Ladies First: Women’s Health

Ladies First Vermont Department of Health

Ladies First helps eligible women get breast, cervical and heart health screenings. Our members get free mammograms, Pap tests and heart health checkups (blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar testing). Ladies First also pays for diagnostic tests when needed; our nurse case manager is available to provide support and guidance. We help women make positive changes by referring members to free help for quitting smoking, nutrition counseling and health coaching, and by paying for certain weight loss programs.

Screening Services Covered by Ladies First

What is health screening and why is it important?

Health screenings are tests, measurements or questions that look for diseases before you have symptoms. Screening tests can find a disease early when it is easier to treat. Sometimes a screening can find a condition, (e.g. high blood pressure), that could lead to a more serious disease. A condition like this is called a risk factor. Knowing about your risk factors is very important because there may be things you can do to control the condition and make it less likely that it will lead to more serious illness. Ladies First offers our members the health screenings listed below.

At a Glance: What Ladies First Covers

Heart Disease Risk Factor Screening

Heart disease is the most common cause of death for women in the U.S. There are many risk factors for heart disease, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high glucose (blood sugar). Testing for these things can be done in a doctor’s office and Ladies First pays for all of them. These risk factors are numerically measured. If your numbers are too high there are many things you can do to lower them. Ladies First has a free program to help you make positive health changes. Please see our Health and Wellness page for more information about the resources available. Click here for more information on women and heart disease:

Using tobacco is another risk factor for heart disease. Quitting tobacco is one of the most important things you can do for your health and there’s a lot of help available. Go here for tobacco cessation information.

Breast Cancer Screening

One out of every eight women will get breast cancer in her lifetime. Because we don’t know what causes breast cancer, there is no sure way to prevent it. We do know that finding breast cancer early while it is still small can make it much easier to treat. The best way to find cancer early is to have regular mammograms as recommended by your doctor. A mammogram is a series of x-ray pictures that allow doctors to look for early signs of breast cancer up to three years before it can be felt. Ladies First pays for mammograms for women over 40, and earlier if you are high risk. It is important to know your risks. Schedule with your doctor to plan your mammogram.

Even though we don’t know what causes breast cancer, there are some things you can do to lower your chance of getting breast cancer. Please see our Health and Wellness page for more information.

Click here for more information on mammograms.

Click here for more information on breast cancer.

Cervical Cancer Screening

The cervix is the lower, narrow end of a woman’s uterus. The uterus, also known as the womb, is where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant.

Cervical cancer is usually a slow growing cancer that develops over many years. The changes that happen to the cervix can be seen by a Pap test, which is a simple test done during a pelvic exam. If the Pap test shows that abnormal cells are starting to grow these cells can be removed before they develop into cancer. Because of the Pap test, cervical cancer is the easiest female cancer to prevent. It is also very curable when found and treated early.

Annual pelvic exams are recommended. Pap tests begin at age 21 and should occur every three years if Paps are normal, less frequently after age 30 with HPV testing. Discuss your plan with your provider.

Click here for more information on Cervical Cancer Screening.

HPV infections

We now know that almost all cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can be passed from one person to another during sex. Many people will have an HPV infection at some point in their life and usually HPV goes away on its own. When it doesn’t go away it may cause cervical cancer over time. It is now possible to get tested for HPV when a Pap test is done. HPV is paid for if there is an abnormal Pap, and also as part of screening for women 30 and over.

Click here for more about HPV.

Also see Making Sense of your Pap and HPV Test Results.

Other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

A sexually transmitted infection is an infection passed from person to person through intimate sexual contact. STIs are also called sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs.

Click here for more information on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

*Ladies First does not pay for STI testing.

Click here for information on the Vermont Department of Health, Sexually Transmitted Disease Program.


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