Most Policy Initiative logo

Show Me Healthy Women Program

December 20, 2021
view pdf
WRITTEN BY Dr. Jill Barnas

Executive Summary

Cancer is a multifaceted disease that is influenced by different variables including environment, lifestyle, hormones, and genetic factors. Breast cancer and cervical cancer are among the most common cancers in women. Breast and cervical cancer screening programs, like Show Me Healthy Women (SMHW), aim to reduce mortality and morbidities associated with advanced stages of the disease by providing early access to effective diagnostic and treatment services in low-income and underserved populations. 


  • In Missouri, the incidence rates of breast cancer and cervical cancer are 133.4 cases per 100,000 women and 8.2 cases per 100,000 women, respectively.
    • Minority, rural, and low-income populations have a higher risk of cancer incidence and mortality.
  • In 2015, SMHW provided cancer screening services for approximately 12% of the estimated 101,100 eligible women.
  • Mammography and primary HPV tests are the “gold standards” for assessing breast and cervical cancer, respectively. Recommendations for routine breast and cervical cancer screenings vary between medical organizations.
  • State legislation has focused on providing insurance coverage for preventive and follow-up exams for all women.


  • States vary in their implementation of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. Best practice considerations from other states and guidelines for eligibility vary in the ability to serve women.
  • State legislation has improved access to cancer screenings and treatment, but little progress has been made reducing social health disparities or improving overall health outcomes for women.
Most Policy Initiative logo
238 E High St., 3rd Floor
Jefferson City, MO 65101

© 2022 MOST Policy Initiative | Website design and development by Pixel Jam Digital
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram