October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among Tennessee women, with approximately 5,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed each year in the state. The Tennessee Department of Health is reminding Tennesseans during Breast Cancer Awareness Month that early detection through regular screening and timely treatment can improve chances of survival of breast cancer.One in eight women with average risk factors will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Women should begin regular screening with mammograms no later than the age of 50. Depending on risk factors, a woman may need to begin screening at an earlier age. The United States Preventive Service Task Force recommends screening with mammograms every other year for women of average risk of breast cancer, starting with a conversation with a health provider at age 40 and continuing through age 75.
Risk factors for breast cancer include:
• Family history of breast cancer
• Overweight, especially after menopause
• 50 years of age or older
• Previous personal history of cancer (especially breast or ovarian)
• Using hormone replacement therapy for an extended period of time
• Smoking
Tennesseans are fortunate to have the Tennessee Breast and Cervical Screening Program which provides free clinical services, mammogram screening and diagnostic testing to qualified uninsured and underinsured Tennesseans. In 2017, TBCSP provided services to more than 9,000 women across the state. Learn more about the program contact your local health department for information.