HHSC Encourages Preventive Care During Breast Cancer Awareness Month

News Release
Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Cecile Erwin Young
HHS Executive Commissioner
Mike Parker, 512-424-6951

AUSTIN – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is encouraging preventive care and screenings for women during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Women ages 50 to 74 should get a mammogram once every two years, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Women ages 40 to 49 who are at a higher risk of having breast cancer may also want to consult with their doctor on getting a mammogram every two years.

“Routine screenings play a crucial role in early cancer detection, even before signs and symptoms appear,” said Faith Sandberg-Rodriguez, HHS associate commissioner for Family Clinical Services. “We encourage women to take control of their health and talk to their doctor about getting screened.”

Last year an estimated 19,921 women in Texas were diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Among those, an estimated 3,415 died from the disease, making it the second most common cause of cancer death for women in the state. Routine breast cancer screenings are the best method to avoid these deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The HHSC Breast and Cervical Cancer Services (BCCS) program provides funding to clinics across the state to provide free breast cancer screening and diagnostic services such as clinical breast examinations, mammograms and breast biopsies to eligible women. BCCS also provides funding for cervical cancer screenings and treatment for precancerous cervical conditions.

Last year, the BCCS program helped more than 30,000 women receive screenings, diagnostics and other preventive services. Of those women, more than 300 were diagnosed with breast cancer.

Uninsured and underinsured Texas women who have an income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level are eligible to apply for BCCS.

In addition, local clinics help eligible women apply for the Medicaid for Breast and Cervical Cancer program for women to receive treatment for breast and cervical cancers.

Breast cancer awareness observation dates in October include:

  • Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day – Oct. 13
  • Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day – Oct. 18
  • National Mammography Day – Oct. 20

To learn more about the women’s health programs and services that HHSC offers, visit the Healthy Texas Women website or dial 2-1-1.

About National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is observed in October to raise awareness about breast cancer. The National Breast Cancer Foundation’s campaign slogan this year is to “RISE” to ensure every woman has access to the screenings she needs and the support she deserves.