Early Detection is Key to Breast Cancer Survival: Screening Can Save Lives

Contact: Angela Minicuci (517) 241-2112


LANSING – It is estimated that 8,140 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 1,360 women will die from the disease in Michigan during 2013. The good news is that it can be detected early. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is encouraging women to follow screening recommendations to detect breast cancer early.

“Early detection is the key to survival. With regular screening, breast cancer is more likely to be detected at an earlier stage, when it is most treatable,” said Dr. Matthew Davis, Chief Medical Executive with the MDCH. “The five-year survival rate among women whose breast cancer has not spread beyond the breast at the time of diagnosis is 98 percent.”

It is recommended that women ages 20-39 receive a clinical breast exam every three years, and women 40 years and older receive a clinical breast exam and mammogram yearly for as long as a woman is in good health. Additionally, if a woman notices a lump or other change in her breast, she should have it checked by a doctor right away.

Although the incidence of breast cancer is highest among white women, breast cancer mortality rates are highest among racial minorities. African-Americans are more likely than Caucasians to die from breast cancer, partly due to a later stage at diagnosis. However, even at the same stage of diagnosis, African-American women show lower survival rates.

Nationally in 2008, women with a disability ages 50-74 reported a lower rate of mammography use than women without a disability of the same ages. Studies also show higher rates of death related to breast cancer among women with a disability, even when diagnosed at the same stage as women without a disability. Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.

Some things can increase the chance or risk of breast cancer such as increasing age, personal history of breast cancer, family history of breast cancer and, in a few cases, breast cancer is inherited due to genetic factors. There are things women can do to lower their risk of getting breast cancer including limiting alcohol intake, being physically active and maintaining a healthy body weight.

The MDCH Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP) provides breast and cervical screening and select diagnostic services to eligible women who otherwise would not have access to these services. Any Michigan woman, ages 40 through 64, can call 1-877-588-6224 to obtain a local phone number to talk to the BCCCP coordinating agency closest to her home. Each woman will be assessed for program eligibility based on age and income, and provided an appointment to a health care provider or clinic near her home.

For more information about BCCCP and cancer in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/cancer.

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