State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer (D-Mamaroneck) today called upon New Yorkers to join her in celebrating Mother’s Day by urging loved ones to get a mammogram. Regular screening plays a pivotal role in the fight against breast cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death among women.
"Breast cancer kills more Westchester woman than any other type of cancer except respiratory related cancers," Senator Oppenheimer noted. "The good news is that about 95 percent of all mammograms prove to be normal. Mother’s Day is an ideal time to remind the women in our lives – wives, daughters, aunts, sisters or friends– how truly important they are."
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 health care providers about whether to have mammograms before age 40.
An excellent resource for New Yorkers with mammography 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.
Senator Oppehheimer said African-American women are especially at risk because their mortality rates are higher than all other racial and ethnic groups. She also noted that anyone, including men, can get breast cancer.
"While the diagnosis is rare, men are not immune to this deadly disease," Senator Oppenheimer said. "Men should do monthly self exams and bring any suspicious changes to their physician’s attention." The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 2,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among American men this year.
The Westchester lawmaker said medically underserved county residents can also get information about free breast cancer screening services by calling the County Health Department’s Breast Health Program at (914) 813-5260.
"Many mothers are so focused on the rest of the family, they may put their own health needs on hold in order to take care of others" Senator Oppenheimer concluded. "As we celebrate Mother's Day this year, the greatest gift we can give our mothers is to help them make their health a priority year-round. Getting a mammogram is something every woman should do for herself and for those who love her. I urge you to take that first step."