Yearly Mammograms - "Make it a Habit"

Sister Molly had her first mammogram this year. A Broome County Health Department Public Health Educator discussed the importance of yearly mammograms while recruiting clients at Catholic Charities Food Pantry and encouraged Sister Molly to get one. Sister Molly was also motivated to get a mammogram when she learned that the Healthy Living Partnership�s Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program could help pay for her services. "As a Daughter of Charity, my work allows me to help those in need, and in order to continue to do that, I have to take care of myself", said Sister. "I was very grateful for this opportunity."

Sister Molly is not alone; there are still women who do not take advantage of early detection and others who do not get breast cancer screening mammograms and clinical breast exams at regular intervals. If you are uninsured or have a difficult time paying for breast and cervical screenings, there is help.

The Healthy Living Partnership, under the guidance of the Broome County Health Department, is working to enroll women over the age of 18 who are in need of free clinical breast exams, mammograms (if age appropriate) and pap smears in Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego and Tioga Counties.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in New York State. It is the second leading cause of deaths from cancer. New York State Cancer Registry Data from 1995-1999 reveals that an average of 179 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in Broome County each year. On average, in Broome County 146.7 out of 100,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer each year. This is 17.2 percent greater than the rate of women who will be told they have breast cancer in New York State each year and 5.4 percent greater than women in the United States as a whole. The rate of Broome County women dying from breast cancer is 32.1 out of 100,000 women, slightly above the New York State rate and considerably above the national rate. "Early detection and early diagnosis can save many of these lives," said Claudia Edwards, Public Health Director.

Many women who get breast cancer have no family history of the disease or any other risk factors. Breast cancer can occur at any age, but it becomes more common as a woman gets older. Some women may be at a higher risk due to family history, childbearing history, or advanced maternal age at first birth. But, the biggest risk for breast cancer is being a woman.

The Healthy Living Partnership urges all women aged 40 and older to get regular routine breast cancer screenings including yearly mammograms. Approximately 95% of all mammograms prove to be normal. "Early detection is the best tool we have in fighting breast cancer," said Mrs. Edwards.

If you live in Broome, Tioga, Chenango, Otsego or Delaware counties, call the Healthy Living Partnership toll-free at 1.877.276.1019 for more information and to find out if you qualify for a no cost/low cost mammogram at a medical provider near you. This program is funded by the New York State Department of Health.

10/07/2003 - 1:10pm