Governor Lamont and Connecticut Public Health Officials Encourage Breast Cancer Screenings, Highlight Program Providing Access To Free Mammograms
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and October 20, 2023, is National Mammography Day
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont, Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, and Connecticut Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD, are encouraging women across Connecticut to schedule an appointment for a breast cancer screening, noting that early detection of breast cancer is when it is most treatable.
The month of October is recognized nationally as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the third Friday of each October is celebrated as National Mammography Day. This year, that day falls on Friday, October 20, 2023. The officials say that these commemorations are a good reminder about the importance of making an appointment to get screened for breast cancer on a regular basis.
Anyone can develop breast cancer. The standard screening test for breast cancer is called a mammogram, which are x-ray exams used to detect breast cancer in those who may not be showing or be aware of breast cancer symptoms. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all women between the ages of 50 and 74 have a mammogram screening every two years. Women ages between the ages of 40 and 49 are recommended to discuss with their health care provider whether and how often they should get screened.
“Getting screened on a regular basis is key to detecting breast cancer early when it is most treatable,” Governor Lamont said. “We have incredible medical services in Connecticut that specialize in detecting and treating breast cancer. If you are uninsured or underinsured, we can connect you with providers that will give you a mammogram at no cost. This is critically important and can save your life.”
“Early detection saves lives,” Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz said. “Today we want to remind women – no matter your age – to attend your annual well woman exam and talk with your primary care physician to determine when to begin annual mammograms or other regular cancer screenings. I know that those appointments can be anxiety inducing, but it’s too important to skip. When cancer is caught earlier, before it has a chance to grow or spread, it is much easier to treat.”
“Early detection is the best defense against cancer for all women,” Commissioner Juthani said. “Regular mammograms are still the best method to find breast cancer at its earliest and most treatable stage. Screening early and regularly saves lives.”
People who live in Connecticut and cannot afford regular mammograms may be eligible for free services. The Connecticut Department of Public Health’s Early Detection and Prevention Program provides breast cancer screenings at locations throughout the state for patients who have low income and who have no or limited health insurance.
Anyone who needs assistance obtaining a mammogram can find resources available online at ct.gov/dph/screening or they can call 860-509-7804 for more information.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women of all races and ethnicities. In 2020, the incidence of breast cancer in Connecticut was 133.2 per 100,000 women – the highest rate in the U.S. The national rate that year was 119.2 per 100,000 women. In 2020, the breast cancer mortality rate in Connecticut was 18.0 per 100,000 women. The national breast cancer mortality rate that year was 19.1 per 100,000 women. These rates highlight the importance of detecting breast cancer early when treatments are more effective.
In 2022, Connecticut ranked fourth in the nation for breast cancer screening rates in women 40 years and older (76.2%), which is higher than the national rate of 70.2%. A total of 81.7% of women in Connecticut between the ages of 50 and 74 reported that they had a mammogram within the preceding two years, while the rate nationally is 76.3%.
The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 43,700 women in the U.S. will die this year from breast cancer and that more than 480 will be in Connecticut. These numbers warrant attention because when detected early, a women’s chance of surviving breast cancer increases. Breast cancer screening exams can help detect the disease at its earliest stages of development, often resulting in less aggressive treatments and ultimately saving lives.