How the YWCA Helps Ensure Breast Cancer Screening Takes Place
Although breast cancer does affect both men and women it is a particularly high-risk cancer for women. Close to 30 percent of new cancer diagnoses in women are breast cancer. In 2015, there were nearly a quarter million new cases of invasive breast cancer in women and over 60,000 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. One of the best preventive measures a woman can take to protect herself against this disease is to schedule a regular breast cancer screening. Here are some additional tips to know and share:
Family History is Not the Only Clue
It is true that a woman with breast cancer in her immediate family history faces twice the risk of developing breast cancer as other women. However, that represents just 15 percent of breast cancer cases. Breast cancer also shows up in women with no family history of the disease. This means that keeping an eye on breast health is a must for all women.
Screening Has Improved (But it’s Still Dependent on a Woman Scheduling the Screening)
The good news is that clinical exams and mammography make an enormous difference in early detection. In recent years there has been a large drop in the number of breast cancer deaths in women under age 50 largely due to improved breast cancer screening and greater participation rates. Improvements for women over age 50 are also seen with regular check-ups and awareness. For women ages 40-50 with an average risk a yearly breast cancer screening is recommended. In women ages 50-70 undergoing breast screening every two years is recommended. High-risk women should begin screenings around age 30. (Note: These are general guidelines. Women should follow the screening schedules recommended by their individual health care provider).
The YWCA is Helping Women With Important Breast Cancer Resources
For some women, getting regular health care is a challenge. The cost, transportation barriers, language barriers and low information can hinder preventive breast cancer screening. This is precisely where the YWCA steps in to help. The ENCOREplus breast cancer outreach program reduces barriers that keep women from going to annual mammogram appointments. ENCOREplus provides community outreach, education, resource referral, barrier reduction, year-round events and more. We can also connect women with financial aid resources needed for regular mammogram check-ups. (When necessary, we can also help with transportation to mammogram appointments).
Last year, ENCOREplus offered services to 2,000 plus Northwest Missouri women. By giving women needed health information and supporting women’s access to appropriate health care, we help women in our area take responsibility for their own wellness and well-being. If you’ve been putting off your breast cancer screening, we encourage you to call our downtown YWCA office and find out how we can help.