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ADH recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Little Rock, Ark. - October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is encouraging women to talk with their healthcare providers about getting screened.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women will develop breast cancer. It is the most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of death among women. In 2017, there were 2,163 new breast cancer cases and 414 cancer deaths in the state. However, Arkansas is ranked one of the lowest states (37th) for breast cancer screening, according to CDC Wonder (2018).
In 1997, the Arkansas General Assembly passed the Breast Cancer Act, which led to the ADH’s BreastCare program. The BreastCare program served 9,026 women in fiscal year 2020. Services included 2,937 mammograms and 5,344 pap tests, which resulted in 53 diagnoses of breast or cervical cancer.
Seventy-two percent of women who were diagnosed with breast cancer while in the BreastCare program were found to have early stage cancer (stage 0, I, or II). This is significant in that cancers diagnosed at late stages (III or IV) are generally associated with poor outcomes and higher treatment costs. Breast and cervical screening services are important for early detection and better treatment outcomes.
The BreastCare program has coordinated efforts with a statewide network of providers offering no cost screenings and follow-up services. Women aged 21-64 can be screened for cervical cancer, and women aged 40-64 can be screened for breast cancer, regardless of ethnicity or nationality.
In addition to screening and diagnostic services, BreastCare provides educational information to communities about the importance of regular breast exams as well as the risks associated with breast cancer. Women who are diagnosed at earlier stages have a greater chance of survival. Help us to fight the battle against breast cancer by getting screened.
BreastCare covers breast cancer screening starting at age 40. It is recommended for women aged 40-49 to talk with their provider to see when they should start breast cancer screening. For women aged 50-74 it is recommended to have breast cancer screening every two years.
Call 501-661-2942 or visit www.ARBreastCare.com to see if you are eligible for the program and to find a provider. Chances are there’s a BreastCare provider near you. For more information about BreastCare, visit www.healthy.arkansas.gov.