DHEC and ACS working together to help more women access breast cancer screenings

BREAST CANCER Best Chance Network copy

With Breast Cancer Awareness Month under way, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) are taking the opportunity to remind the public about the importance of breast and cervical cancer screenings.

According to the ACS, 3,820 South Carolina women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 690 will die from the disease this year. With the goal of saving lives, the Best Chance Network (BCN) program offers breast and cervical cancer screenings at no cost to women who have no health insurance or only have hospitalization insurance, are between the ages of 40 and 64, and who meet certain income guidelines. DHEC partners with the South-Atlantic Division of the ACS and more than 400 health care providers in every county of the state to coordinate cancer screenings for these underserved women.

“Early detection is of paramount importance to the successful identification and treatment of breast cancer,” said Stephanie Hinton, director of DHEC’s Division of Cancer and Control. “Now in our 25th year, we are delighted that the program continues to grow and provide eligible women across the state with vital access to lifesaving services.”

In its 25th year, BCN has provided more than 155,000 eligible women with breast and cervical cancer screening, assisting more than 11,000 this past year alone.

The most recent incidence data (2012) indicates that more than 62 percent of women in South Carolina are diagnosed at an early stage when the cancer is most treatable. In 2012, the incidence rate was 127.2 per 100,000 women and the mortality rate was 22.0 per 100,000 women.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, no matter their race or ethnicity. In addition, it is the second most common cause of death from cancer among women in South Carolina and nationwide.

By providing access to early detection and treatment services, the program aims to help more women in South Carolina win their battle against cancer.

For more information, visit: Best Chance Network or call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345, and ask about the South Carolina BCN.

Author: Jana Pye

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