Breast Cancer Awareness: DOH emphasizes importance of screenings

Local News

(Kimberly P. Mitchell/Detroit Free Press via AP, File)

HARRISBURG — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the commonwealth says now is the time to get your checkup.

The state has seen many women and individuals postpone these essential screenings due to COVID-19, so on Wednesday, the Department of Health reiterated the importance of continuing breast and cervical cancer screenings.

“Throughout this month, we wear pink to draw attention to breast cancer awareness and honor those who have fought breast cancer,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “Pink should remind us that we are not alone and there is support and programs available to ensure you have access to screenings.”

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer in women in Pennsylvania and the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Only cancer of the lung and bronchus has worse results.

In Pennsylvania, Caucasian women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than African American women, but African American women are more likely to die of breast cancer.

Cervical cancer is not as common among women in Pennsylvania, but it has a lower survival rate. Black women are more likely to develop and die from cervical cancer than Caucasian women.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends the following screening guidelines for breast cancer:

  • Women under the age of 40 should be screened if they have symptoms or are at high risk;
  • Women ages 40 to 49 should be screened every two years if the patient and the healthcare provider decide it is necessary; and
  • Women 50 and older should be screened every two years.

The Pennsylvania Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (PA-BCCEDP) is a free breast and cervical cancer early detection program funded by the department through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Free services, like mammograms, MRIs, Pap and HPV tests, and follow-up diagnostic tests for abnormal screening results, are available for those who are eligible.

Those who are eligible include women and transgender people with low or moderate income, those who are uninsured or underinsured and those who meet certain age requirements. PA-BCCEDP clinics throughout the state follow CDC guidelines for safe operations to protect patients from COVID-19.

PA-BCCEDP will cover annual mammograms for women of any age, based on the decision of the client and the provider.

Through PA-BCCEDP, hundreds of healthcare providers throughout Pennsylvania have screened over 97,000 women and diagnosed 4,822 breast and cervical cancers since 1994. This fiscal year alone, the program was able to detect cervical and breast cancer for 113 individuals out of the nearly 7,000 who used the program.

For more details on the program and how to apply, click HERE.

For news delivered right to yousubscribe to JET 24/FOX 66/’s breaking, daily news & severe weather email lists.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss

More News