AGING SERVICES: Breast Cancer Awareness in Connecticut

Breast Cancer Awareness in Connecticut

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
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.  For more information about Medicare coverage for breast cancer screening, please visit
What Is Cancer?
Cancer occurs when cells in a part of the body begin to grow out of control. Normal cells divide and grow in an orderly fashion, but cancer cells do not. They continue to grow and crowd out normal cells. Although there are many kinds of cancer, they all have in common this out-of-control growth of cells.
Different kinds of cancer can behave very differently. For example, lung cancer and breast cancer are very different diseases. They grow at different rates and respond to different treatments. Thatís why people with cancer need treatment that is aimed at their kind of cancer.
Sometimes cancer cells break away from a tumor and spread to other parts of the body through the blood or lymph system. They can settle in new places and form new tumors. When this happens, it is called metastasis (meh-tas-tuh-sis). Cancer that has spread in this way is called metastatic cancer.
Even when cancer has spread to a new place in the body, it is still named after the part of the body where it started. For example, if prostate cancer spreads to the bones, it is still called prostate cancer. If breast cancer spreads to the lungs, it is still breast cancer. When cancer comes back in a person who appeared to be free of the disease after treatment, it is called a recurrence.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a malignant (cancer) tumor that starts from cells of the breast. It is found mostly in women, but men can get breast cancer, too.
How Many Women Get Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.
About 182,460 women in the United States will be found to have invasive breast cancer in 2008. About 40,480 women will die from the disease this year. Right now there are about two and a half million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her life is about 1 in 8. The chance of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 35. Breast cancer death rates are going down. This is probably the result of finding the cancer earlier and improved treatment.
(Information from the American Cancer Society)

National organizations and Web sites*
Other sources of patient information and support include:
American Cancer Society
1-800-ACS-2345 (1-800-227-2345)
National Breast Cancer Coalition
Toll-free number: 1-800-622-2838
Web site:
National Cancer Institute
Toll-free number: 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237)
Web site:
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Toll-free number: 1-877-465-6636
Web site:
Breast Cancer Network of Strength (formerly Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization)
Toll-free number: 1-800-221-2141 or 1-800-986-9505 for Spanish
Web site:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Toll-free number: 1-800-232-4636
Web site:
*Inclusion on this list does not imply endorsement by the CT Department of Social Services.


Content Last Modified on 10/1/2012 11:53:40 AM