October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time when the world unites in a sea of pink ribbons, illuminating the urgency of breast cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment.
In Arkansas, more than 2,400 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. It is the most common cancer for women in Arkansas and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women both in Arkansas and the United States.
One of the most crucial aspects of this observance is promoting early detection. The saying "early detection saves lives" couldn't be more accurate when it comes to breast cancer. Routine mammograms, clinical breast exams, and self-examinations are essential tools in identifying breast cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage.
The Breast Cancer Act of 1997 was signed on March 11, 1997, by the Arkansas General Assembly, which led to the development of the ADH’s BreastCare program. Women ages 21-64 can be screened for cervical cancer, and women ages 40-64 can be screened for breast cancer regardless of ethnicity or nationality. Since its inception, the BreastCare Program has enrolled over 128,000 women for breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services. Additionally, the program provides educational information to communities about the importance of regular breast exams as well as the risks associated with breast cancer.
In the 2021 Regular Session, the General Assembly passed ACT 553. This act clarifies that an insurer, upon the recommendation of a woman's physician, must offer screening mammography as an essential health benefit if the woman has a prior history of breast cancer or the woman's mother, sister, or any first- or second-degree female relative of the woman has had a history of breast cancer, positive genetic testing, or other risk factors.
We hope this Breast Cancer Awareness prompts conversations about prevention and early detection.
For more information about BreastCare, call 1-833-693-2942 or visit ARBreastCare.com to see if you are eligible and to find a provider.
Chances are there is a BreastCare provider near you.