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Back To Vidyya Breast Cancer Detection Rates By Race And Ethnicity Show Importance Of Screening For All Age Groups

The First Race- And Ethnic-Specific Rates Of Breast Cancer Detection Announced

Commemorating Breast Cancer Awareness Month, HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala announced today the first race- and ethnic-specific rates of breast cancer detection. She also released public service announcements (PSAs) featuring Surgeon General David A. Satcher, M.D. that underscore the importance of early detection in the fight against breast and cervical cancer through health programs such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.

"This year marks the 10th anniversary of the CDC's breast and cervical cancer program which has saved women's lives through early detection," said Secretary Shalala. "This milestone is the result of much effort and commitment from public health professionals in state and local governments throughout the country. I feel certain that the second decade will bring women even greater access to screening and follow-up services."

According to CDC data published in the October 2000 issue of Cancer Causes and Control, among women receiving their first National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) -funded mammogram, 7.7 cancers were detected per 1,000 white women; 6.4 cancers per 1,000 African-American women; 6.2 per 1,000 Asian/Pacific Islander women; 4.9 per 1,000 American Indian/Alaska Native women; and 4.9 per 1,000 Hispanic women.

Women who reported no mammography before their first NBCCEDP mammogram were more likely to have abnormal results and cancers than women who reported previous mammography. Approximately three-fourths of white and African-American women had at least one mammogram before entering the NBCCEDP; the percentage was much lower for Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native and Hispanic women.

"These data remind us that women of every race and ethnic group need access to the potentially life-saving benefits of regular mammography screening," said CDC Director Jeffrey
Koplan, M.D., M.P.H. "Although many thousands of women have received free mammograms through the NBCCEDP, there is an enormous need for additional resources to reach those who are still not able to afford routine breast cancer screening. We must continue to work to provide affordable breast cancer screening and follow-up services to all women."

Established in 1990, the screening and early detection program has grown from eight states in 1991 to 50 states, six U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and 12 American Indian/Alaska Native organizations in 2000. During its first decade, the program has provided more than 2.5 million screening tests C nearly 1.2 million mammograms and more than 1.3 million Pap tests C and diagnosed nearly 8,000 breast and cervical cancers. The program also provides educational information to women and health care providers about the need for these life-saving screening tests.

"Even if you don't have health insurance or Medicare, you can still get free screening exams for breast and cervical cancer through this vital program," said Dr. Satcher about the main focus of the CDC program.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer, except for skin cancer, and is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer-related deaths among American women. Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers that affect women, but women are still dying unnecessarily because the cancer is often caught too late. This year, 40,800 women will die from breast cancer and 4,600 women from cervical cancer.

Recognizing the value of screening and early detection in preventing unnecessary deaths, Congress passed the Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention Act of 1990. The Act authorized CDC to provide breast and cervical cancer screening services to older women, women with low incomes, and underserved women of racial and ethnic minority groups.

There will be a satellite feed of the new PSAs, reminding women that they can get free screening exams for breast and cervical cancer even if they do not have health insurance, today at 12:00 - 12:15pm (EST) on Telstar 6 (C Band only), 93 degrees West, Transponder 16, Downlink Video Frequency 4020 MHz, Polarity: Horizontal, Audio 6.2 MHz and 6.8 MHz.

To request copies of the Surgeon General's PSA or for more information about the study on race- and ethnic-specific rates of breast cancer detection, call 770-488-4751. To learn more about the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, visit call toll-free 1-888-842-6355.

Note: Audio of Surgeon General David Satcher reminding women that they can get free screening exams for breast and cervical cancer even if they do not have health insurance is available on the Internet at:

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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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