Education & Health Centers of America

America's Health Centers Are on the Front Lines of Breast Cancer Prevention

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and America's Health Centers are stepping up to the challenge of fighting the disease in medically underserved communities. Many health centers routinely offer affordable screenings, including mammograms, education and outreach to their patients.

“Studies show that health center patients are more likely to receive mammograms, clinical breast exams, and pap smears, regardless of whether they have health insurance, ” said Ron Yee, MD, Chief Medical Officer for the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). “That is why the kind of affordable and accessible health care that health centers provide is crucial to fighting breast cancer and other diseases. When people have a health care home, they will use it, catch abnormalities earlier and stay healthier.”

An estimated 232, 340 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed among women in the U.S. in 2013, as well as an estimated 64, 640 additional cases of "in situ" breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Only lung cancer accounts for more cancer deaths in women.

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. Health centers, which today serve 1 in 15 people living in the U.S., provided 471, 915 mammograms to 424, 376 patients last year, according to data collected by NACHC. Early detection is critical to survive breast cancer.

Some breast cancer risk factors can be avoided. To decrease your chances of breast cancer, avoid tobacco use, consume alcohol only in moderation, eat healthy, and get regular exercise. 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.


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