Granholm Recognizes October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Contact: James McCurtis Jr. (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

October 1, 2009

Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm is again recognizing October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) by increasing public knowledge about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. NBCAM is celebrating its 25th anniversary this October, and during this month women are encouraged to get screened for breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Michigan women. In 2009, the American Cancer Society estimates that 6,480 Michigan women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 1,350 women will die of the disease.

"Early screening is estimated to reduce breast cancer deaths by 20 to 25 percent," said Dr. Greg Holzman, chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). "This means you have the power to do something. Small steps like talking to your health care provider about recommended screenings for breast cancer can reduce your risks."

Although every woman is at risk of developing breast cancer, some factors increase a women's likelihood of developing this disease. These risk factors include:

- Increasing age

- A personal history of breast cancer

- A family history of breast or ovarian cancer (especially pre-menopausal onset) in a mother, a sister, a daughter, or other multiple relatives

- High breast tissue density

- High-dose radiation to the chest

- Never giving birth or having a first child after the age of 30

- A long menstrual history

The Michigan Cancer Consortium recommends that women of average risk get an annual clinical breast exam and mammogram starting at age 40.

Developed by the American Cancer Society, the guide is designed as a complete and unbiased source of information on mammography facilities in Michigan. The guide compares services, price, and other important information to help women choose the mammography facility best suited for them.

If you cannot afford a mammogram, you may qualify for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP). The BCCCP provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to women who meet the following eligibility criteria:

- Have an income < 250 percent of the federal poverty level (e.g., a family of four can earn up to $55,125 per year)

- Be uninsured or underinsured

- Be between the ages of 40-64

Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer through the BCCCP may be eligible to receive Medicaid for cancer treatment. Since the program began in 1991, over 130,500 women have been screened through the BCCCP with nearly 2,400 breast cancers diagnosed.

For more information on the BCCCP, please call 800-922-6266 or visit www.michigancancer.org/bcccp.

"Michigan has demonstrated its commitment in the fight against breast cancer when Governor Granholm signed income tax check-off legislation allowing Michigan taxpayers to contribute to Amanda's Fund for Breast Cancer Prevention and Treatment," said Janet Olzsewski, MDCH Director.

Donations collected from Amanda's Fund will be used to provide free cancer screening and diagnostic services to women in the Michigan BCCCP. During the 2008 tax season, $71,628 was collected by this fund. Michiganders can still donate to Amanda's Fund when filing their 2009 state tax return. One hundred percent of the money collected stays here in Michigan.