The Broome County Health Department Urges Women to Get Screened for Breast Cancer; Early Detection Key to Effective Treatment

BINGHAMTON, NY - October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Carrie Abbott, Supervising Public Health Educator urges all women to learn about their risk and talk to their health care provider about getting screened for breast cancer. 

“All women, aged 40 and older should get a mammogram every one to two years, with or without clinical breast exams to protect their health,” Abbott said. “Today, thanks to early detection and treatment advances, women are surviving breast cancer and living longer, healthier lives. When breast cancer is found early, 97 percent of the cases can be effectively treated.”
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death among women in New York State, after lung cancer. Last year, about 14,000 women in New York State were newly diagnosed with breast cancer, and more than 2,900 women died from the disease.
Although the causes of breast cancer are still unknown, the following factors may increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer: 
  • Advancing age
  • Being younger when you had your first menstrual period
  • Starting menopause at an older age
  • Never giving birth or delayed giving birth to first child until age 30 or older
  • Not breastfeeding
  • Having a personal or family history (on the mother’s or father’s side of the family) of breast cancer, or carrying certain gene mutations such as BRCA 1 or BRCA 2
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being sedentary
  • Having a history of radiation exposure to the chest
  • Taking hormone replacement therapy for an extended period of time. 
“Having one of these risk factors does not mean that you will be diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Abbott. “Many women who are diagnosed with breast cancer do not have any risk factors or unusual symptoms. Women who are concerned about their risk of breast cancer should talk to their health care provider. Women with a personal or family history of breast cancer might also consider genetic counseling.”
Although there is still much to be learned about the causes of breast cancer, there are many ways men and women can live a healthy lifestyle and help improve outcomes related to cancer. These include not smoking and avoiding second-hand smoke, making healthy food choices, getting regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting recommended cancer screenings.
There is a program in New York that provides access to cancer screenings to uninsured women, aged 40 and older. There are also programs that offer support or legal services to women with breast cancer and their families.
Please contact the Cancer Services Program of Broome, Chenango and Tioga Counties in your community at 607-778-3900 for more information or to find out if you or someone you know may be eligible for these life-saving screenings. 
You can also visit www.nyhealth.gov/nysdoh/cancer/center/partnerships/ or call 1-866-442-CANCER (226237) to locate a genetic counselor, legal services and breast cancer support programs in your community.


10/28/2009 - 4:06pm