October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Since the program began in 1985, mammography rates have more than doubled for women age 50 and older and breast cancer deaths have declined.
This is exciting progress, but 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.
“If all women age 40 and older took advantage of early detection methods – mammography plus clinical breast exam – breast cancer death rates would drop much further, up to 30 percent,” said Dr. Dennis Norfleet, Oswego County Director of Public Health.
Dr. Norfleet noted that:
- Women age 65 and older are less likely to get mammograms than younger women, even though breast cancer risk increases with age.
- Hispanic women have fewer mammograms than Caucasian women and African American women.
- Women below poverty level are less likely than women at higher incomes to have had a mammogram within the past two years.
“The key to mammography screening is that it be done routinely – once is not enough,” said Dr. Norfleet.
For more information about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, early diagnosis and patient services, visit www.nbcam.org or call the Oswego County Health Department weekdays from 8:30-4:00 at 315-349-3547.