According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breast cancer is the second leading cancer type among American women, exceeded only by skin cancer.Breast cancer is the number one cause of cancer death in Hispanic women. It is the second most common cause of cancer death in white, African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women.
Since October marks National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Guilford County Department of Public Health would like to encourage all females to participate in activities and behaviors that promote breast health and reduce the risk of breast cancer. “Our future health is based on what we do today,” states Merle Green, Health Director. “Even small steps can yield big benefits.”
There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer but making healthy life style changes will help lower your risk.
• Control your weight and exercise. Make healthy choices in the foods you eat and the kinds of drinks you have each day. Stay active.
• Know your family history of breast cancer. If you have a mother, sister, or daughter with breast cancer, ask your doctor what is your risk of getting breast cancer and how you can lower your risk. There is also new information on family history. If your father has or had prostate cancer, this too can increase your risk for breast cancer.
• Find out the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy. Some women use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat the symptoms of menopause. Ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of HRT and find out if hormone replacement therapy is right for you.
• Breastfeed your children.
• Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
• Get screened for breast cancer regularly. By getting the necessary exams, you can increase your chances of finding out early on, if you have breast cancer.
• Do not smoke; if you do smoke, quit.
The Department of Public Health’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP) provides free screening and follow-up examinations for breast and cervical cancer to eligible women who are age 50 and over. On-site services include blood pressure screening, cholesterol screening, clinical breast exam and Pap smear. The program also refers eligible BCCCP patients to another facility for mammograms. To be eligible for the BCCCP program, women must be Guilford County residents age 50 or older, not enrolled in Medicare part B or Medicaid, and meet income guidelines for the program.
BCCCP clinics are held every Tuesday and Thursday in Greensboro at the 1100 E. Wendover Avenue location and every Wednesday in High Point at 501 E. Green Drive. Please call 641-3233 for an appointment or more information.
In addition, any woman regardless of age who comes for clinical services (Family Planning or Maternity) at the Department of Public Health will receive a breast cancer screening as a part of her new or annual exam. In the event a mammogram is needed, the Department of Health’s staff can make a referral for her to an appropriate provider.
For more information on these or other services and programs of Guilford County Department of Public Health, call 641-7777 or visit our website at www.guilfordhealth.org or these helpful sites: