SPRINGFIELD — National Mammography Day was Oct. 15 and state agencies are using the observance to remind women to schedule their mammograms.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 41,000 women and 450 men in the United States die each year from breast cancer. Early detection can help save lives. Mammography remains the most effective means to detect cancer in its earliest stages.
Except for skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) administers the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP) which offers free mammograms, breast exams, pelvic exams and Pap tests to eligible women. Even if a woman has already been diagnosed with cancer, she may receive free treatment if she qualifies. Since 1995, IBCCP has provided more than 800,000 mammograms, breast and pelvic exams, Pap tests, or other breast and cervical cancer services to more than 340,000 women in Illinois.
Mammography is still the most effective screening for early detection, which can provide women with better treatment options and results.”
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) inspects and certifies nearly 360 mammography machines in Illinois each year to ensure equipment is operating properly and is capable of providing high quality mammograms to detect breast cancer. The agency also reviews quality assurance records to ensure equipment is operating properly and that patients are receiving accurate scans.
“Early detection of breast cancer is critical for saving lives,” said IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “We conduct thorough annual inspections of mammography equipment and a facility’s operating procedures to ensure it is operating properly to produce the best image possible.”
A mammogram is a special breast x-ray that can detect 90 percent of cancers, even before a lump can be felt. This high detection rate makes it an important tool, along with self-examinations and regular clinical examinations, in the early detection of breast cancer.
To learn more about the IDPH Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, call the Women’s Health-Line toll free at 888-522-1282 (800-547- 0466 TTY)