Health and Family Services Cabinet
Public Health Stresses Breast Cancer Early Detection
As Awareness Month Draws to a Close, the Need for Screenings, Treatment Continues
October is almost over, but the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) is continuing to encourage women to get screened for breast cancer.
CHFS Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes will lead cabinet staff on an awareness walk 2 p.m. Monday at the CHR Complex in Frankfort. Employees are encouraged to participate in the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” event where Haynes will make a brief statement to emphasize the importance of screening and early detection.
“Early detection is so important for successful treatment of breast cancer,” said CHFS Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes. “We have come so far in the past decade in terms of treatment and survival rate, but there are still many women in Kentucky who aren’t getting regular screenings and the care they need. I want the women of Kentucky to carry this message with them not only during breast cancer awareness month, but throughout their lives.”
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) works throughout the year on educational outreach programs and screening services for low-income women across the state through the Kentucky Women’s Cancer Screening Program (KWCSP). During the 2011 fiscal year, the KWCSP provided breast cancer screenings to 14,212 women.
“Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and promptly report any breast change to their health care provider,” said Joy Hoskins, acting director of the Division of Women’s Health in DPH.
Breast cancer has been a longstanding public health concern in Kentucky. Approximately 590 women die every year from breast cancer in the Commonwealth. Additionally, the American Cancer Society predicts approximately 3,160 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in Kentucky this year.
Early detection and prompt treatment can significantly reduce suffering and death from breast cancer. By law, all health plans must cover mammograms. Medical guidelines strongly recommend that women older than 40 have annual mammograms and women younger than 40 with a family history of breast cancer also have regular screenings.
Through local health departments, KWCSP provides breast cancer screenings, including clinical breast exams (CBE) and mammograms, and Pap tests to eligible women in every county. To qualify for the program, women must be uninsured with incomes less than 250 percent of federal poverty guidelines. The KWCSP recommends an annual CBE on all females beginning at age 20. Annual screening mammograms are available to women ages 40-64 and women younger than 40 who have a family history of breast cancer or an abnormal CBE.
For more information about breast cancer or screening services, call your local health department or 1-800-4CANCER.
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is home to most of the state's human services and health care programs, including Medicaid, the Department for Community Based Services and the Department for Public Health. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full and part-time employees throughout the Commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.