October is breast cancer awareness month, calling us to provide information and awareness about breast cancer while working to ensure that every woman has access to the screening, services, and support that they deserve.
2022 estimates for the United States include:
- 290,560 new cases of invasive breast cancer
- 51,400 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer
- 43,780 breast cancer deaths
Thanks to early detection and improved treatments, breast cancer’s mortality rate has been declining since 1989. In women ages 50 and older, mammography correctly identifies about 87 percent of women who have breast cancer. Screening is important for all women, regardless of their race/ethnicity or their risk of breast cancer, as about 85% of diagnoses occur in women with no family history of breast cancer.
To kick off the month and try to address some of these barriers, Wallace teamed up with OHSU’s mammogram van. We offered educational resources, in-person translation services, and accessible hours in an effort to make mammogram services more accessible to our patients. Pink is the signature color for breast cancer awareness and our staff chose to wear pink t-shirts to stand out for the cause!
It’s still true that some women are less likely than others to get mammograms. A variety of barriers can prevent them from seeking out and attending mammogram appointments, including:
- Worry about the cost of screening
- Difficulty with access (such as lack of transportation)
- Unfamiliarity with breast cancer risks and screening methods
- Lack of child or elder care
- No sick leave or unable to miss work
- Fear of bad news or pain from the mammogram
- Cultural and language differences