National Mammography Day, Oct. 19, 2007
To honor October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution designating October 19, 2007, as National Mammography Day in the United States. This is the 15th consecutive year Congress has recognized the National Mammography Day resolution sponsored by Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (Del.).
Getting regular mammograms has been shown to reduce breast cancer deaths by 20-35 percent in women between the ages of 50 and 69, and by about 20 percent in women in their 40s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Unfortunately, the percentage of women 40 and older who reported having a mammogram in the past two years has declined, from 76.4 percent in 2000, but had dropped to 74.6 percent by 2005. Though small, the decline was statistically significant. A 1.8 percent decline in mammography screening from 2000 to 2005 may not seem like much, it means that in 2005 about 1.5 million fewer women took advantage of getting this proven life-saving test.
Reasons for the decline in mammograms include lack of access to health care and lack of health insurance. A shortage of radiologists and facilities that perform mammography may also be a factor. Statistics show, however, that breast cancer continues to play a major role in the health of women.
- An estimated 178,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to occur among women in the United States during 2007.
- An estimated 40,460 women will die from breast cancer this year.
- It is estimated that 2,030 men will be diagnosed and 450 men will die of breast cancer during 2007.
- In addition to invasive breast cancer, 62,030 new cases of in situ breast cancer are expected to occur among women in 2007. Of these, approximately 85 percent will be ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).
Source: American Cancer Society Cancer Facts & Figures 2007.
Breast cancer doesn't discriminate—women of all races, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, and lifestyles are at risk. All women are at risk for breast cancer. The two most significant risk factors are being female and getting older. The risk of developing breast cancer increases as you age. The majority of new breast cancers and breast cancer deaths occur in women aged 50 and older. Additionally:
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer among African American women and the second leading cause of cancer death among African American women, exceeded only by lung cancer.
- Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Hispanic/Latina women; an estimated 14,300 Hispanics/Latinas were expected to be diagnosed in 2006.
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer in pregnant and postpartum women. It occurs in about 1 in 3,000 pregnancies.
- Breast cancer in men is rare, but it does happen. In 2007, it is estimated that 2,030 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 450 will die from it.
The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), a division of the CDC, provides quality breast cancer screening and diagnostic services to low-income, uninsured, and underserved women. These services can help find breast and cervical cancer at the earliest stages. Since 1991, the NBCCEDP has served more than 2.7 million women. In 2004, the NBCCEDP screened 391,968 women for breast cancer using mammography, and screened 336,442 women for cervical cancer using the Pap test. Women seeking mammograms at a reduced rate are urged to make their appointment early in the year, as space may be limited.
Until more is known about preventing breast cancer, early detection offers the best defense against breast cancer. And mammography remains one of the most effective methods of detecting breast cancer early. The most common signs of breast cancer are a lump in the breast; abnormal thickening of the breast; or a change in the shape or color of the breast, and mammograms can detect these subtle changes before they can be felt.
It is important for women to practice the elements of good breast health. It is suggested that women obtain regular mammography screening beginning at age 40. Prior to age 40, all women should obtain annual clinical breast exams, perform monthly breast-self exams, and discuss risk assessment with their physicians.
»Download and print Breast Self-Examination cards available from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
»Learn the ABC's of breast cancer from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
»Read the American Cancer Society's resources on breast cancer.
»Find out more about breast cancer, including patient services and disease information, from the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month organization.