October may be the month most associated with Halloween, but it is also associated with pink – for breast cancer awareness.   

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission urges women to take preventative steps to detect and avoid breast cancer.   

“Many of us have delayed life-saving screenings like mammograms during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is understandable. But after 19 months, it’s so important to get back on track with regular breast cancer screening,” said Lindsay Rodgers, HHSC associate commissioner for Health and Developmental Services. “Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms.”  

According to the American Cancer Society, women aged 45 to 54 should receive an annual mammogram. Women over age 55 are recommended to get the screening every two years, while women deemed at high risk should begin screenings at age 40.   

According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer will become the most common cancer globally as of 2021, accounting for 12 percent of all new annual cancer cases worldwide.  

In Texas, the HHSC’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Services Program (BCCS) is stepping up to assist women with free breast cancer screenings and diagnostic services. The BCCS provides “clinical breast examinations, mammograms, and breast biopsies to eligible women.”  

Additionally, for those who qualify, cervical cancer screenings and treatment for precancerous cervical conditions are also funded by the BCCS.   

In 2020, even during the pandemic, the BCCS assisted more than 26,600 women. Of those, more than 15,000 received breast cancer services.   

Many uninsured and underinsured women at or below the 200% federal poverty level can receive assistance from the BCCS. To find out if you are eligible for BCCS assistance, visit BCCS Client Eligibility for more details.