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FOR RELEASE: October 17, 2006
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

More Women Need to Get Tested for Breast and Cervical Cancer
Take Charge! Save a life.

Women often perform caregiver duties for their own families and other relatives and friends, but neglect to take care of themselves. Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) officials are reminding women to take care of their health, and one way to do so is to be screened for breast and cervical cancer.

The OSDH offers a program called Take Charge! that provides no cost breast and cervical cancer screening for Oklahoma women who qualify for the program. The screenings include a clinical breast exam, Pap smear and a coupon for a mammogram. To qualify for the program you must be a woman between the ages of 50 to 64, low income, uninsured or have a high unmet deductible, and not be covered by Medicaid or Medicare Part B.

With routine screening using Pap smears, cervical cancer is almost totally preventable because pre-cancerous conditions are detected and treated. Unfortunately, Oklahoma ranks 11th in the nation for cervical cancer deaths. In 2006, approximately 130 women will be diagnosed and approximately 50 to 60 women will die from cervical cancer in Oklahoma.

Routine screening with mammograms helps detect breast cancer for earlier treatment and increased chances of survival. Oklahoma ranks 20th in the nation for breast cancer deaths. In 2006, approximately 2,850 women will be diagnosed and approximately 550 women will die from breast cancer in Oklahoma.

Call the Cancer Information Service at 1-800-422-6237 to see if you qualify. Local county health departments also have information available to explain the program and assist women with referrals to other programs if they do not qualify for the Take Charge! program.

Visit this Web site to locate the contact information for the health department nearest you: http://www.health.state.ok.us/program/cds/breastcervical.html.

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