With this week’s media coverage focused on the opening of the Health Insurance Marketplace and the federal government shutdown, one can easily overlook the fact that Breast Cancer Awareness Month also kicked off.
Although Michigan and the nation have seen decreases in both breast cancer incidences and deaths attributed to breast cancer over the past decade, the National Institute for Cancer estimates that nearly 235,000 new cases will be diagnosed in 2013 resulting in more than 40,000 deaths nationwide. More specifically, according to the most recent data available from the Michigan Department of Community Health, it is estimated that 7,890 new cases were diagnosed and 1,320 deaths resulting from breast cancer occurred in Michigan in 2011.
It is no secret; breast cancer is scary, deadly and prevalent. This is exactly why Michigan’s Health Centers provide appropriate screenings and educate their patients about breast cancer on an ongoing basis. To heighten awareness throughout the nationally recognized Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many Health Centers are ramping up their efforts:
- At many locations throughout Northeast Michigan, Alcona Health Center and Thunder Bay Community Health Service have partnered to provide Free Women’s Cancer Screenings for uninsured or underinsured women under age 65.
- Staff at each Baldwin Family Health Care site is distributing promotional materials encouraging women (and men) to get mammograms with an added bonus of the chance to win a pink bag full of items to pamper oneself. If you need a mammogram anyway, why not take the chance to win a prize and do it in October!
- MidMichigan Community Health Services in Houghton Lake is offering a free gift bag to every patient who has a mammogram this month.
- A team of staff at the Western Wayne Family Health Centers’ Taylor site is raising money by collecting donations and holding bake sales to benefit the upcoming local Susan G. Komen walk. Donors’ names are being displayed on pink ribbons in the waiting room.
- Health Delivery, Inc. (HDI) recently received a grant from the Harvey Randall Wickes Foundation to help purchase and install a new digital mammography machine at the Janes Street Academic Community Health Center, bringing access to some of the best breast cancer-fighting technology to the underserved and uninsured. HDI also produced a public service announcement (PSA) that is currently airing on local NBC affiliates through December.
Additional resources for straightforward facts on breast cancer can be found at the National Cancer Institute and Susan G. Komen Foundation. Events throughout Michigan not specifically related to Health Centers can be found on the Pure Michigan Pink website.
However you decide to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month, make sure it includes taking advantage of preventive screening services to help increase the likelihood of early detection. In the month of October, everywhere you go, let’s turn Pure Michigan Pink.