Maine CDC Press Release

October 4, 2004

October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Contact:  
Dora Mills, Director
Bureau of Health
Dept. of Health & Human Services
11 State House Station
Tel: (207) 287-8016
TTY: (207) 287-8066

Augusta – In recognition of October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services is reminding Maine women of the importance of regular screening for early detection of breast cancer.

The Breast and Cervical Health Program (MBCHP) and the Maine Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (MCCCP) recommends that women age 40 and older should have a clinical breast exam and mammogram every year. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that women age 20-39 (without symptoms) receive a clinical breast exam every three years.

As the most frequently diagnosed non-skin cancer, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. “Early detection saves lives,” said Dora Ann Mills, MD, MPH, Director of HHS’s Bureau of Health. “Maine women 40 and older need to include clinical breast exams and mammograms as part of their yearly health care routine. Women should talk with their providers about scheduling a mammogram, especially if it has been awhile since their last screening.”

In Maine, it is estimated that 920 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Breast cancer screening has been shown to reduce breast cancer deaths. However, the ACS reports that in 2002 only 67.4% of Maine women 40 years and older had a mammogram in the past year.

For women in need of financial assistance, the MBCHP provides free breast and cervical health screenings. To qualify, a woman must be between 40 and 64 years old; meet certain income guidelines; have no medical insurance (including MaineCare and Medicare Part B), or have insurance which does not cover screening services.

For more information about the MBCHP or to see if you qualify, please call 1-800-350-5180.

The MCCCP provides leadership for, and coordination of, Maine's statewide comprehensive cancer control efforts. It is guided by the goals and objectives delineated in the Maine Cancer Plan. For more information about the MCCCP or for a copy of the Maine Cancer plan, please call 1-207-287-5358 or visit www.MaineCancerConsortium.org .