Message from Assistant Secretary Kathy Greenlee, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
I am so pleased that President Obama has issued a proclamation recognizing October as "National Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2009." Breast cancer is a tragic disease that affects millions of women every day. Chances are that each one of us knows someone who has been affected by breast cancer. This is a disease that impacts families, friends, and co-workers.
The risk of breast cancer increases with age. More than half of breast cancers are diagnosed in women age 65 or older, and as many as 45 percent are diagnosed after age 70. Older women who do not follow regular screening guidelines often are diagnosed at a later stage, when breast cancer is more difficult to treat.
While there have been advances in the fight against this terrible disease, we know there is more to be done. Everyone has a role and responsibility. it is critically important that all women over the age of 40 take the necessary steps to get screened for breast cancer. Early detection is an important piece of prevention and can be a lifesaving step.
All women with Medicare ages 40 and older are eligible to receive a screening mammogram every 12 months. This is an important preventive benefit that I highly recommend. For more information about Medicare coverage for breast cancer screening, please visit http://www.medicare.gov/(X(1)S(zjcsu1yvrvi3hgreattw0345))/navigation/manage-your-health/preventive-services/breast-cancer-screening.aspx
Please join me in encouraging the women in your lives to do their part to stay healthy and to fight breast cancer.
To read President Obama's proclamation, please visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Presidential-Proclamation-National-Breast-Cancer-Awareness-Month