Missoula Measures - Breast and Cervical Cancer
- Related data
- Brief background
- Breast Self Exams
- Why don't some Missoula women get mammograms?
- Risk factors
- Related Measures
- Related websites
Why this topic?
American women have a one-in-eight risk of developing breast cancer over an average lifetime. Mammography has been shown to reduce deaths by 26% for women aged 50 and over (although it does not appear to reduce breast cancer mortality for pre-menopausal women) Personal Health: A Multicultural Approach, 1995. Small tumors are easier to detect by x-ray against the higher content of fatty breast tissue typical of older women, as opposed to dense, fibrous breasts. With early detection, treatment can be more successful. Mammograms are also a good gauge of the overall effectiveness of the health care delivery system.
How are we doing?
In terms of mammograms, we appear to be doing well. We have surpassed the Healthy People 2000 goal of 60%. But that still leaves nearly three in 10 women over 50 whom we still need to reach.
Current mammogram guidelines recommend that women over 20 do self-exams every month, receive clinical breast exams between ages 20-40 every three years, receive an initial mammogram at 35, and annual mammograms beginning at 40. 23% of breast cancer occurs in women under age 50. Mammograms miss about 15% of breast cancers. Dr. Judy Schmidt Of Missoula women over 50, 58% got a mammogram within the past year during 1996.
Breast and cervical health screenings:
Nine out of 10 women discover tumors through regular breast self-exam, and 80% of those tumors are benign The Impact of Cancer on Montana, Part 1: Cancer Fact Book, 1995 However, tumors detected in this manner are usually larger and in a later stage of growth.
In six Missoula focus groups conducted in 1995 by Partnership Health Center, reasons for not getting mammograms included:
- Lack of financial resources
- Disbelief of media messages
- Preference for female health care providers
- Great fear of cancer
- Strong influence of female peers and family
- "Fear factors," embarrassment, pain, and discomfort
Female, ageing, high alcohol consumption, being overweight, maybe a high-fat diet.
Over 80% of women having breast cancer have NO identified risk factors. The primary risk factors are being a woman and getting older. Over 75% of breast cancer cases are in women over 50, and the risk increases with age. All women are at risk and need to have yearly mammograms, clinical breast exams, and do monthly breast self-exams. Early detection is the key to successfully treating, and surviving, breast or cervical cancer. Over 95% of women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer survive when it is found early. Karen Cater, DPHHS
Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer:
- a diet low in fruits and vegetables
- having sex at an early age
- having many sexual partners
- having a partner who has had many sex partners
- having sex with uncircumcised males
- HIV infection
- Chlamydia infection
- long-term use of birth control pills
- multiple pregnancies
- family history.
The Montana Breast and Cervical Health Program has produced a brochure called Side by Side that summarizes services of the MBCHP, the American Cancer Society, and the Montana Komen Race for the Cure, as well as more websites.
The Montana Breast and Cervical Health Program has an administrative site at Partnership Health Center in Missoula offering yearly mammograms, clinical breast exams, education, and regular Pap tests to uninsured or underinsured women ages 50 through 64. Income to qualify is up to and including 200% of poverty (a woman in a one person household can earn up to $7.92 per hour in a full-time job and qualify). The Missoula site serves Missoula, Mineral, and Ravalli counties and has providers in each county to serve qualified women. The Missoula program is administered through Partnership Health Center. The Montana information number is 1-888-803-9343.
- American Medical Women's Association
- Avon's Breast Cancer Awareness Crusade
- Cancer Care, Inc.
- Cancer Research Foundation of America
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
- National Alliance for Breast Cancer Organizations (NABCO)
- National Breast & Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
- National Cancer Institute
- Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization
- Zeneca Health Care Foundation
- Extensive background on national public health status of this topic and many others, Healthy People 2020