October is always a busy month for Community Health Centers as they ramp up efforts to reach out to America’s underserved and promote the importance of breast cancer screenings for early detection of breast cancer. In 2015, the latest year for which incidence data are available, 242,476 new cases of breast cancer were reported among women, and 41,523 women died of breast cancer in the United States. For every 100,000 women, 125 cases of breast cancer were reported and 20 died of cancer.
Studies show that health center patients are more likely to receive mammograms– an important tool for detecting lumps — regardless of whether they have health insurance. That is why the kind of affordable and accessible health care that health centers provide is crucial to fighting breast cancer. When people have a health care home, they will use it and stay healthier.
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. For instance, 724,187 women received mammograms at a health center in 2017. Abnormal breast findings were diagnosed among 197,038 female health center patients.
Some health centers provide mammography onsite and others, such as One World Community Health Centers in Omaha, NE, which partnered with the Susan G. Komen Foundation [see news article], and Nevada Health Centers, drive mammography vans to communities where women cannot get low-cost preventive screenings.
If your health center is hosting an event or providing a service during October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, let us know and we’ll write about it on this blog.