NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – It’s breast cancer awareness month and the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s Early Detection and Prevention Program is providing free breast cancer screenings to woman who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it. The free screenings are happening at locations all across the state for those who have low income and who have no or limited health insurance.
The American Cancer Society reports that nearly 41,000 women in the United States will die this year from breast cancer, 450 from Connecticut alone. Breast cancer screening exams can help detect the cancer at its earliest stages, often resulting in less aggressive treatments and ultimately saving lives. “Mammograms are the best route to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms,” said Lisa McCooey, the Director of DPH Comprehensive Cancer Program. “Getting screened regularly could save your life.”
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women of all races and ethnicities. From 2009-2013 in Connecticut, the incidence of breast cancer in women was 138 per 100,000 women – the third highest rate in the United States, while breast cancer mortality rates for Connecticut women during the same time period were 20 per 100,000 women – the 13th lowest rate in the US. These rates underscore the importance of early detection when treatments are most effective. [Source: statecancerprofiles.cancer.gov].
Mammogram screenings are x-ray exams used to detect breast cancer in women who may not show or be aware of breast cancer symptoms. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all women ages 50 to 74 to have a mammogram screening every two years. Women ages 40 to 49 years should discuss with their health care provider whether and how often they should get screened. To find a program near you, go to http://www.ct.gov/dph/earlydetection or call (860) 509-7804.