October is designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One in eight women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lives, making it the second most common cancer in women, after skin cancer.
Breast cancer is also the second leading cause of cancer death among women, exceeded only by lung cancer. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that 39,620 women will die of breast cancer in 2013 in the United States.
Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since 1989. These declines are likely a result of earlier detection through screening, increased awareness and improved treatment. However, Kentucky Department for Public Health mortality data still reveals that all forms of cancer combined are the leading cause of death in Franklin County.
There are currently at least 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. One breast cancer survivor stated on the ACS Making Strides website, “As this was the battle of my life I figured my breasts would be the only causality in this war and the scars I received were my battle wounds and a sign of victory.”
The key to surviving breast cancer is early detection and treatment. ACS recommends women in their 20s and 30s receive a clinical breast exam at least every three years and that all women 40 and over receive annual mammograms. Your doctor may recommend earlier or different screenings based on your risk factors.
Some of the most common risk factors for breast cancer include being female, aging, genetic factors such as the BCRA1 and BCRA2 genes, alcohol consumption, obesity, physical inactivity and family history, especially having a mother, sister or daughter with breast cancer.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Frankfort Regional Medical Center is holding Mammo Mondays with extended hours for screening mammograms every Monday in October. An order from your physician is required; appointments can be scheduled by calling 502-226-1665.
The Franklin County Health Department will hold a Ladies Day Out 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at the office. Available services will include screenings for breast and cervical cancer, blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. Participants may also be eligible to receive at $20 gift card. Call 502-564-7647 for more information.
The health department can also help determine your eligibility for the Kentucky Women’s Cancer Screening Program, which provides low-cost mammograms and Pap tests through local health departments in every county in Kentucky.
Age, income and uninsured status are the factors used to determine eligibility for breast cancer screening. Women age 40-64 who meet guidelines are eligible for screenings every year. Women under 40 are eligible to receive breast cancer screening services if they have a family history of breast cancer.
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer you are not alone. Bosom Buddies is a local support group that meets from 6-7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the Frankfort Regional Medical Pavilion in conference room C.
Judy Mattingly holds a master of arts in health communication degree and is the accreditation coordinator at the Franklin County Health Department, 100 Glenns Creek Rd.