50,000 More Women Screened Between 2017 And 2018
Governor Issues Proclamation Declaring October Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that One World Trade Center, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, the Kosciuszko Bridge, the George Washington Bridge, the Goethals Bridge, the Bayonne Bridge, SUNY Plaza, the State Education Building, the Alfred E. Smith Building and the New York State Fair Exposition Building will light up pink to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in New York State. Each year, approximately 16,000 women in New York are newly diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 2,500 die from the disease.
"Raising awareness about early detection and preventive services is our biggest weapon against breast cancer," Governor Cuomo said. "We will continue to make it a priority and make it easier for every woman in New York to be screened."
"We are continuing our efforts to promote breast cancer screenings statewide and building on our investments to help New Yorkers access the heath care they need," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are speaking out about the importance of getting screened and the life-saving services available across the state. We want to make sure that mammograms and cancer screenings are available for all New Yorkers to help save lives."
In New York, women getting screened for breast cancer has increased from 80.3 percent in 2017 to 82.1 percent in 2018. The new data comes from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a statewide telephone survey that annually collects data from New York State women between the ages of 50 and 74 who report having had a mammogram within the past two years. This increase in screening rates means that approximately 50,000 more women were screened in 2018 compared to 2017.
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "This screening estimate is the highest we've seen in many years and we hope to see this upward trend continue. Our incredibly comprehensive breast cancer screening programs and robust educational initiatives in New York State are key factors in helping more women get access to necessary screening to promote early detection."
The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women between 50 and 74 years of age get a mammogram every two years; other women, including those who are between 40 and 49 years old, those with a family history or other risk factor for breast cancer, and those who have any symptoms or changes in their breasts, should talk to their doctor about what screening schedule is right for them.
New York State can attribute increased screening rates to multiple initiatives designed to improve access to breast cancer screening and preventive health care services. Through New York's Cancer Services Program, women can access screening information and services from peer outreach and education programs, a patient navigation program, and a mobile mammography program currently serving 40 counties. New laws that extend hours for screening and offer employer-paid time off for screenings for public employees are making it easier for women to get screened. Additionally, in August, Governor Cuomo signed Shannon's Law, requiring large group insurers to cover medically necessary mammograms for women aged 35 to 39.
All New Yorkers are encouraged to join in related activities during this month-long observance to help raise support and awareness. Breast cancer screening is covered by most health plans, including Medicaid and health plans participating in the New York State of Health. The NYSDOH's Cancer Services Program (CSP) offers screening to eligible uninsured men and women in every county and borough in NYS. To find a CSP near you, call 1-866-442-CANCER (2262) or visit http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/cancer/services/community_resources/.