Little Rock, Ark. – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) BreastCare program coordinates efforts with a statewide network of providers offering no-cost breast and cervical cancer screenings and follow-up services.
Nearly 400 women die due to breast cancer and over 2400 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in Arkansas. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women will develop breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women in Arkansas and the second leading cause of cancer death for women both in Arkansas and in the United States. The state currently ranks as the 37thlowest for mammography and 16th lowest for pap tests. While the breast and cervical cancer screening rates among women in Arkansas have improved over the years, we still have a long way to go in improving the screening rates.
Cancers diagnosed at late stages (III or IV) are generally associated with poor outcomes and higher treatment costs. Women who are diagnosed at earlier stages have a greater chance of survival. Breast and cervical screening services are imperative for early detection and better treatment outcomes.
The Breast Cancer Act of 1997 was signed March 11, 1997 by the Arkansas General Assembly, which led to the development of the ADH’s BreastCare program. Women ages 21-64 can be screened for cervical cancer, and women ages 40-64 can be screened for breast cancer regardless of ethnicity or nationality. Since its inception, the BreastCare Program has enrolled over 128,000 women for breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services. Additionally, the program provides educational information to communities about the importance of regular breast exams as well as the risks associated with breast cancer.
For more information about BreastCare, call 1-833-693-2942 or visit www.ARBreastCare.com to see if you are eligible and to find a provider. Chances are there is a BreastCare provider near you.
Help us to fight the battle against breast and cervical cancer by getting screened.