Senator Stavisky: Breast Cancer Awareness Month Highlights the Importance of Early Diagnosis
State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) today called on New Yorkers to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month by speaking with friends and loved ones about the deadly disease that one in eight women will develop at some point during her lifetime. Because treatment is more likely to be successful when breast cancer is detected early, screening plays a key role in saving lives.
"Every October, we renew our commitment to educating New Yorkers about the importance of breast cancer screening," said Senator Stavisky. "I urge all women to take charge of their health with self breast exams, regular visits to the doctor and, depending on their age, periodic screening mammograms."
A mammogram is a special X-ray used to create detailed images of the breast. The National Cancer Institute recommends that women age 40 and older have a screening mammogram every one to two years. Mammograms can help detect a breast cancer tumor years before a lump can be felt by touch. Women at higher than average risk of breast cancer should talk with their physicians about whether to have mammograms before age 40.
Senator Stavisky noted that anyone can get breast cancer, including men. "While the diagnosis is rare, men should also do self breast exams and bring any changes to their physician’s attention," she said. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 2,000 American men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and about 450 will die.
An excellent resource for New Yorkers with mammography or breast cancer questions or concerns is the Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline and Support program, which directs callers to community resources and provides telephone support through volunteers, all of whom are breast cancer survivors. The toll-free hotline, at 1-800-877-8077, has offered information and support for 27 years.
Queens residents can also get information about low- or no-cost mammograms by calling the Queens Healthy Living Partnership (American Cancer Society) at (718) 263-2225 or by dialing 311 and asking for mammogram information.
Senator Stavisky concluded: "Some women say they don’t have time to get a mammogram. Others fear bad news, or worry about the cost. Whatever the reason for delay, I encourage you to be proactive and take steps to get screened. Lives would be saved if more women took advantage of the early detection tests for breast cancer."