Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Arkansas and in the United States. Breast cancer continues to be one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers in Arkansas. Today, one in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
In 2015, there were 2,168 new cases of female breast cancer in Arkansas. That same year, 394 women died of the disease.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease.
There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer. But there are things you can do that might lower your risk such as exercise and reducing alcohol intake.
Finding breast cancer early and getting state-of-the-art cancer treatment are the most important strategies to prevent deaths from breast cancer.
In 2017, we passed legislation in hopes of increasing the accessibility of new technology that could help save lives. Act 708 requires insurance companies to cover the cost of a breast ultrasound or 3-D mammogram without charging a co-pay or deductible. While traditional mammograms are effective for many women, the ultrasound can detect changes in women with dense breast tissue.
States that have demanded that insurance companies treat ultrasounds and 3-D mammograms the same as traditional mammograms have seen a reduction in deaths and the number of biopsies needed.
American Cancer Society screening recommendations for women at average risk are as follows:
· Women between 40 and 44 have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year.
· Women 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
· Women 55 and older can switch to a mammogram every other year, or they can choose to continue yearly mammograms.
The Arkansas BreastCare program provides breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services for eligible Arkansas women. If you qualify, you can receive services at no cost to you. Visit www.arbreastcare.com to learn more.