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FOR RELEASE: October 12, 2004
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Women Over Age 40 Should Get Breast Exam and Mammogram
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) encourages Oklahoma women to take charge of their breast health. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all women over the age of 40 are encouraged to have an annual clinical breast exam and mammogram.

If a woman has a high risk for breast cancer, she should talk to her healthcare provider about getting a mammogram before age 40. State health officials recommend that women over 40 who have never had a mammogram should call their healthcare provider to schedule their appointment today.

According to the Oklahoma Central Cancer Registry, 2,500 Oklahoma women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. White women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer while African American women are more likely to die from it. A woman whose breast cancer is diagnosed early has a 97 percent chance of living for at least five years.

“All women should learn the facts about breast cancer,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Crutcher.

Crutcher said risk factors for breast cancer include: family history; having a mother, sister or daughter diagnosed with breast cancer; having the breast cancer gene (BRCA1 or BRCA2); experiencing the first pregnancy after age 30 or never having had a child; being overweight; having a personal history of breast, ovarian, or endometrial cancer; or atypical hyperplasia of the breast or dense breast tissue on a mammogram.

If any of the following risk factors or symptoms apply to you, contact your healthcare provider to schedule an appointment.

  • Change in the size or the shape of the breast
  • Lump in breast or lymph node
  • Nipple is turned inward into the breast
  • Skin of the breast, areola or nipple is scaly, red or swollen
  • Dimpling, puckering of the nipple or nipple discharge

To help women “take charge” of their breast health, the OSDH Take Charge! program offers no cost breast and cervical cancer screening tests for low income, uninsured Oklahoma women between the ages of 50 through 64. Call the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER for information on breast cancer, the Take Charge! program, or assistance in finding certified mammography facilities.

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