The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) recognizes October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and encourages all Mississippians to educate themselves and others about the disease.
Excluding skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that 2,170 new cases of invasive breast cancer will diagnosed this year in Mississippi, and more than 400 women will lose their lives to the disease.
Every woman is at risk for breast cancer, and risk increases with age. Approximately three out of four new cases of breast cancer occur among women aged 50 or older. A family history of breast cancer can increase this risk.
"When you first receive the diagnosis of breast cancer, it is devastating," said Louisa Denson, MSDH Director of Women's Health and three-time breast cancer survivor. "However, you must keep in mind that education, early detection and treatment of the disease prevent death. "
All women should practice month breast self-exams, and those 50 or older should have an annual mammogram, according to Denson.
MSDH, in cooperation with community partners, can provide assistance for women unable to pay for their annual mammogram. Contact the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program at 1-800-721-7222 or 601-576-7466