Seniors Digest
KIPDA Area Agency on Aging and
Independent Living
  October 1, 2010 

October Is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Pink ribbon for Breast Cancer AwarenessOctober is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). Since the program began in 1985, mammography rates have more than doubled for women age 50 and older and breast cancer deaths have declined.

This is exciting progress, but there are still women who do not take advantage of early detection at all and others who do not get screening mammograms and clinical breast exams at regular intervals.

  • Women age 65 and older are less likely to get mammograms than younger women, even though breast cancer risk increases with age.
  • Hispanic women have fewer mammograms than Caucasian women and African American women.
  • Women below poverty level are less likely than women at higher incomes to have had a mammogram within the past two years.

If all women age 40 and older took advantage of early detection methods—mammography plus clinical breast exam—breast cancer death rates would drop much further, up to 30 percent. The key to mammography screening is that it be done routinely. Once is not enough. Medicare covers screening mammograms once every 12 months for all women with Medicare age 40 and older. Medicare covers one baseline mammogram for women between ages 35–39. You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount.

For more information about NBCAM, please visit For additional information, please call one of the following toll-free numbers:

American Cancer Society
(800) 227-2345

National Cancer Institute (NCI)
(800) 4-CANCER

Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization
(800) 221-2141.

The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month program is dedicated to increasing public knowledge about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Fifteen national public service organizations, professional associations, and government agencies comprise the Board of Sponsors, who work together to ensure that the NBCAM message is heard by thousands of women and their families.

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