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25th Anniversary of the Breast Cancer Act of 1997
Little Rock, Ark. – The Breast Cancer Act of 1997 was signed on March 11, 1997 (1997 Ark. SB 320) by the Arkansas General Assembly, which led to the creation of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) BreastCare program.
Since its inception, the BreastCare Program has enrolled over 128,000 women for breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services. In the fiscal year 2020, the BreastCare program served 9,026 individuals, including 2,937 mammograms and 5,355 Pap tests which resulted in 53 diagnoses of breast and cervical cancers. The program also provides educational information to communities about the importance of regular breast exams as well as the risks associated with breast cancer.
Breast cancer is a significant threat to the health of women. Every year nearly 400 women die due to Breast Cancer in Arkansas. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., one in eight women will develop breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Arkansas and the second leading cause of cancer death in women in Arkansas and the United States.
While the breast and cervical cancer screening rates among women in Arkansas have improved over the years and the state now ranks as the 37th lowest for mammography and 16th lowest for pap tests, we still have a long way to go in improving screening rates.
Women aged 21-64 can be screened for cervical cancer, and women aged 40-64 can be screened for breast cancer. Women who are diagnosed at earlier stages have a greater chance of survival. Cancers diagnosed at late stages (III or IV) are generally associated with poor outcomes and higher treatment costs. Breast and cervical screening services are imperative for early detection and better treatment outcomes.
For more information about BreastCare, call 1-833-693-2942 or visit www.ARBreastCare.com to see if you are eligible and to find a provider. Chances are there’s a BreastCare provider near you.
Help us to fight the battle against breast cancer by getting screened.