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CDC Offers Screenings for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Lisa Pickoff-White

October 12 - October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which encourages women to get annual mammograms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides access to free or low-cost screenings to detect breast and cervical cancer for low-income or uninsured women throughout the country. Since 1991, CDC has provided more than 6.5 million screenings to more than 2.7 million women.

One out of seven women in America will develop breast cancer, and women are more likely to develop breast cancer as they age. But early detection and improved treatments have helped reduce death rates from the disease. Annual mammograms can cut death rates by 30 percent in women 50 and older, and by 17 percent in women in their 40s, trials have found.

Two Institute of Medicine reports, Saving Women's Lives: Strategies for Improving Breast Cancer Detection and Diagnosis and Mammography and Beyond: Developing Technologies for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer: A Non-Technical Summary, examine how mammography can be used to detect breast cancer and how newer measures could be used in conjunction with mammograms. Improving Breast Imaging Quality Standards recommends ways to improve the technical quality and interpretations of mammograms.

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