Community Health Centers Are on the Front Lines in the Battle Against Breast Cancer
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and America’s Community Health Centers are stepping up to the challenge of reaching out to America’s underserved, uninsured, and low-income to ensure access to affordable breast cancer screenings. Community Health Centers provided 334,591 mammograms to 314,776 patients last year, according to the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). Early detection is critical to surviving breast cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, there will be an estimated 226,870 new cases of breast cancer in 2012, resulting in 39,510 deaths. In 2011, the top five states with the most patients receiving breast cancer screenings at Community Health Centers are California, New York, Texas, West Virginia, and Massachusetts. By providing affordable and accessible screenings, and launching education and outreach efforts to culturally diverse populations, health centers have been able to help boost the odds of early breast cancer detection and save lives.
While some breast cancer risk factors cannot be avoided ---, such as genes, gender, and age --women can reduce their breast cancer risk by avoiding tobacco use, eating healthy, and getting regular exercise, and moderating their alcohol intake. Mammography is the best screening method for detecting breast cancer in its earliest forms, and can detect possible tumors years before a woman can feel an actual lump. It is recommended that women 40 years and older receive a screening mammogram every year.
Photo courtesy of SEMO Health Network