The Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) Commission is urging women to get screened regularly for breast cancer, as October marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Additionally, October 13 is specifically Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day; October 19 is Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day; October 21 is National Mammography Day.
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is observed so as to “raise awareness about breast cancer and provide education about prevention, screening, and treatments.” As of 2021, breast cancer is the most common cancer worldwide; breast cancer accounts for 12% of annual new cancer cases globally.
The HHS Department stated that “in 2022, an estimated 19,921 women in Texas will be diagnosed with breast cancer. An estimated 3,415 will die from it.”
Regular screenings are the best way to detect cancer early, “when it’s easier to treat,” according to Rob Ries, HHS deputy executive commissioner for Family Health Services.
It is recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force for women between the ages of 50 and 74 to get a mammogram bi-annually. Women with additional risk factors can start screening annually at age 40.
Breast and Cervical Cancer Services (BCCS) disburses taxpayer funds to clinics in Texas to help them give free breast cancer screenings and clinical breast examinations. Some women may be eligible for breast biopsies and mammograms as well. They also disburse funding for cervical cancer and sometimes treatment for cervical conditions that are precancerous.
Furthermore, eligible women can undergo breast cancer treatment through the taxpayer-funded Medicaid for Breast and Cervical Cancer (MBCC) program. Texas women who are uninsured and who are below 200% of the federal poverty level can apply for MBCC.
BCCS helped over 29,000 women with screenings last year, and over 290 of those women were diagnosed with breast cancer.
The Healthy Texas Women website has more information about programs and services for women that the HHSC offers.