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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer screening rates in upstate NY show room for improvement.


Breast cancer screening rates in upstate NY show room for improvement

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all women ages 50 to 74 are screened for breast cancer every two years, but nearly one in five upstate New York women still does not get a biennial mammogram, according to a 2016 Excellus BlueCross BlueShield report.

“The evidence is clear that early detection saves lives,” said Nicholas Massa, M.D., medical director, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “Given the fact that all health insurers cover preventive breast cancer screenings in full every one to two years for women over age 40, we would like to see even higher percentages of women being screened for breast cancer.”

This year in upstate New York, 3,800 women will be newly diagnosed with breast cancer, and the disease will cause more than 600 deaths. Breast cancer is now the most common cancer among women and the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in New York state.

“A woman’s risk factors determine when she should begin getting screened,” said Massa. Here are the guidelines:

 

  • Women at average risk should have the conversation with their doctor at age 40 about when to start screening. 
  • Women at high risk or with a family history of breast cancer should talk to their doctor about the right age and frequency of screening.
  • All women ages 50 to 74 should be screened for breast cancer every two years.

 

There are hospitals and clinics that offer extended hours for mammography screenings, so appointments can fit most every schedule. 

Massa advises learning more about breast cancer risk factors and screenings by talking to your doctor, or by visiting the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force website at http://tinyurl.com/USPSTFbc.

Quick Facts About Breast Cancer Screening

Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death for women in New York State.

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

In upstate New York, 3,800 women will be newly diagnosed with breast cancer and an estimated 620 breast cancer deaths will occur this year. 

Mammography screening can help find cancer early and reduce risk of death from breast cancer. When to begin screening depends on a woman’s risk:

Women at high risk or with a family history of breast cancer should talk to their doctor about the right age and frequency of screening.

Women at average risk should have the conversation with their doctor at age 40 about when to start screening. 

All women ages 50-74 should be screened for breast cancer every 2 years.

In upstate New York, 80.5 percent of women aged 50-74 receive recommended mammography screening.

Screening is now more accessible than ever in New York State, with newly extended hours at many hospitals and clinics. All New York State health insurance plans cover breast cancer screenings at no cost.

To learn more about screening and decide what is best for you…

Talk to your doctor or visit http://tinyurl.com/USPSTFbc for information from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.