Breast Cancer Screening & Prevention for Georgia Women
If you’ve been around for any amount of time, you’ve undoubtedly been affected by cancer — whether it’s been you, a family member or a friend. If you haven’t felt its ill effects, count yourself blessed. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death among Georgians. Every day, over 120 Georgians continue to be diagnosed with some form of cancer.
The most common cancer diagnosis for women in Georgia is breast cancer. It's also the 2nd most common cause of cancer-related deaths in Georgia women.
Because cancer affects so many Georgia citizens, stakeholders from the Georgia Cancer Control Program created a 5-year state cancer plan which lays out Georgia’s approach to preventing and controlling cancer. Multiple types of cancer are addressed in the plan, including breast cancer, along with an outline for diagnosis, treatment and care. The Cancer Control Program is responsible for implementation of the state cancer plan and maintaining partnerships important to preventing cancer-related deaths.
Breast Cancer Prevention
With breast cancer being one of the leading causes of death in Georgia women, early detection is imperative and critical in treating the cancer early and successfully. The Georgia Department of Public Health’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program (BCCP) works with its partners to provide early breast cancer screening and diagnostic services to uninsured women in the state.
Services for the Uninsured
Georgia women who are currently uninsured and whose income doesn’t exceed 200% of the federal poverty level, along with women who are rarely or never screened for breast cancer, might be eligible for the BCCP. Additionally, breast cancer screenings are available to women between the ages of 40 and 64. Priority screenings are given to those who are rarely or never screened and also to women ages 50 to 64. Call your local county public health department to learn if you are eligible. The Georgia BCCP provides breast cancer screenings to nearly 15,000 women a year.
Georgia’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Program includes the following services for early cancer detection:
- Clinical Breast Exams
- Pelvic Exams
- Pap Tests
- HPV Tests
- Testing of abnormal results
- Referrals to additional treatment through the Women’s Health Medicaid Program
If breast cancer is diagnosed through the program, you might be eligible for treatment through Medicaid thanks to the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment and Prevention Act passed in 2000.
Georgia Breast Cancer Genomics Project
Georgia is fortunate enough to be 1 of 3 states to receive funding for the Breast Cancer Genomics Education, Surveillance and Policy Project. This project works to increase awareness and screening for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) and the BRCA gene mutation which is known to increase a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer. HBOC syndrome is the tendency for women to develop breast, ovarian and other cancers at a much younger age than usual.
BRAC Gene Mutation
A majority of HBOC is due to a mutation in the 2 most common breast cancer genes — BRCA1 and BRCA2. Women identified with this mutation have up to a 65% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer and up to a 44% chance of developing ovarian cancer. However, with proper understanding and screening, breast or ovarian cancer related to a BRCA gene mutation can be prevented.
Complete the Breast Cancer Genetics Referral Screening Tool to help determine if you or a loved one would benefit from BRCA genetic testing.
Yearly screenings and monthly self-exams are key to early detection. Most insurance plans cover yearly exams and mammograms. Screenings and other resources are available for those who are underserved or uninsured. Don't find out when it’s too late. One screening a year could save your life.