From the Harford County Health Department:
Throughout October, the Harford County Health Department and the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program are celebrating the 25th anniversary of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) represents a partnership of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to screening services. In 2010, NBCAM celebrates its 25th anniversary. For a quarter century, NBCAM has been at the forefront of promoting awareness of breast cancer issues and has evolved along with the national dialogue on breast cancer.
Since the inception of NBCAM in 1985, the number of women nationwide, age 50 and older having mammograms has nearly doubled and the number of breast cancer deaths, nationally has declined. Similarly, the number of breast cancer-related deaths in Harford County has decreased and the percentage of women in Maryland who have had mammograms has exceeded the Healthy People 2010 goal.
While this is exciting progress, there are still women who do not take advantage of early detection at all, and others who do not get screening mammograms and clinical breast exams at regular intervals. Approximately 23% of Maryland women aged 40 years and older have not had a mammogram in the past 2 years. In fact, women, ages 65 and older are less likely to get mammograms that younger women, even though breast cancer risk increases with age.
“If all women age 40 and older took advantage of breast cancer screening methods, mammography plus clinical breast exam, breast cancer death rates would drop significantly, possibly as much 30 percent,” says Elaine Krajewski, RN, Cancer Prevention Services Supervisor with the Harford County Health Department.
Breast cancer screenings can be quick and easy. Everyone in Harford County should celebrate this month by reminding their mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters of the following screening recommendations:
– For women ages 20-39, clinical breast exam at least every three years starting from age 20
– For women ages 40 and older, mammogram every one to two years as advised by their health provider and clinical breast exam annually
For those concerned about the cost of mammograms, the Harford County Health Department’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program offers no-cost mammograms to those who qualify. The qualifications include: women who are Maryland residents, ages 40-64, who have little or no health insurance and who meet the program’s financial income guidelines.
For more information about breast cancer or breast cancer screening, call the Office of Cancer Prevention Services at 410-612-1780 or visit the Harford County Health Department website at www.harfordcountyhealth.com.