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News Release

 
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   October 1, 2001

George T. DiFerdinando, Jr., MD, MPH
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Dennis McGowan or Dave Jamieson
609-984-7160

Commissioner Urges Women to Make Breast Cancer Screening a Routine Part of Their Lives as State Recognizes October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

TRENTON - Marking the start of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, acting Commissioner of Health and Senior Services George T. DiFerdinando, Jr., M.D. is urging women - particularly those age 40 and above - to make breast cancer screening a routine part of their lives.

"If all women age 40 and older took advantage of early detection methods, primarily mammography and clinical breast exams, breast cancer death rates could drop by as much as 30 percent nationwide," said Dr. DiFerdinando. "The key is to ensure that mammography screening is done routinely - once is not enough."

In the years since October was designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1985, mammography rates have more than doubled for women age 50 and older and breast cancer deaths have declined by 1.8 percent each year since 1992.

"This is exciting progress," said Dr. DiFerdinando, "but there are still women who do not take advantage of early detection at all and others who do not get screening mammograms and clinical breast exams at regular intervals."

Celeste Andriot-Wood, Assistant Commissioner for Family Health Services, said, "The three keys to early detection are: regular mammograms, annual clinical breast examinations by a health care provider and monthly breast self-examinations. The more people we can convince to get screened regularly, the more lives we can save."

Working toward that goal is the department's New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection (NJCEED) program. NJCEED provides comprehensive screening services for breast, cervical, prostate and colorectal cancer. Services include: education, outreach, and early detection, case management, screening, tracking and follow-up.

NJCEED services are available in all 21 counties through 25 lead partner agencies. The program seeks to increase the awareness of each person's risk for breast, cervical, prostate and/or colorectal cancer and to encourage them to use screening services for early detection and more effective treatment to decrease morbidity and mortality.

NJCEED is partnering on a number of major statewide initiatives promoting breast cancer awareness during October. Individuals can contact NJCEED at 609-292-8540, or the numbers listed below, for more information about the following programs:

  • Wal-Mart stores throughout the state have partnered with local NJCEED programs to provide education and outreach activities at the stores during the entire month of October. Referrals for screenings will be done on-site.

  • Through the Book Mark Your Health Campaign, NJCEED is partnering with all 317 libraries in New Jersey to distribute important information to everyone who comes into the libraries during the month of October.

  • The American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, on Sunday, October 14. This walking event at Princeton Forrestal Village is a rally to raise awareness and funds for the fight against breast cancer. For more information, call 800-ACS-2345.

  • On October 19, to mark National Mammography Day, mammography facilities around the country will offer reduced-fee screenings. For more information about which certified mammography facilities in New Jersey will be offering reduced-fee screenings that day or at other times throughout the month, call NJCEED at 609-292-8540, or call one of the following toll-free numbers: American Cancer Society, 800-227-2345; The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, 800-462-9273; National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations, 888-80-NABCO; National Cancer Institute, 800-4-CANCER; Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization, 800-221-2141.

  • Breast & Prostate Cancer Candlelight Night will be held at the Sovereign Bank Arena, Saturday, October 20, 2001, during a pre-season basketball game for the Philadelphia 76ers. This first-time event for breast and prostate cancer survivors, breast cancer groups and organizations will raise awareness for these two forms of cancer, and is sponsored by Trenton's Sovereign Bank Arena, the City of Trenton Health Department, the American Cancer Society, Horizon-Mercy Health Care and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.

  • The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's Race for the Cure, Sunday, October 29, at Bristol-Meyers Squibb in Princeton, is an annual walk/run fundraising and breast cancer awareness event. NJCEED and many local service providers will be participating in this event as exhibitors. For more information, call 609-252-2008.

  • On October 31, the Cancer Resource Center at the Trenton YWCA, the first such facility in Mercer County, will host a dedication service and open house.

    In New Jersey, approximately 6,500 women are diagnosed each year with breast cancer, and an additional 1,500 are diagnosed with breast cancer "in situ," or before dangerous cancer changes have occurred. About 1,500 women die from breast cancer each year in the state with an overall cancer mortality rate of about 28 per 100,000 women.

    For more information about breast cancer services, visit the department's website at www.state.nj.us/health/cancer.

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    Department of Health and Senior Services
    P. O. Box 360
    Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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