As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, State Senator José M. Serrano (D-Manhattan) today encouraged women to learn more about recommended screening guidelines that increase the likelihood of early detection of breast cancer. When breast cancer is caught early, the chance for successful treatment is greatest.
"Every October, we renew our commitment to educating New Yorkers about the importance of breast cancer screening," said Senator Serrano. "All women can take an active part in the early detection of breast cancer by having regular visits to the doctor, self breast exams 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 Serrano 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," he 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.
Manhattan residents can also get information about low- or no-cost mammograms by calling the Manhattan Breast Health Partnership at (212) 237-3910, the Breast Examination Center of Harlem at (212) 531-8022 or by dialing 311 and asking for mammogram information.
"Pink is not just a color anymore– it’s a symbol of hope and courage," Senator Serrano concluded. "Breast cancer affects far too many of our mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. The simple truth is that lives would be saved if more women took advantage of the early detection tests for breast cancer."