LOS ANGELES — In recognition of October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles is encouraging women to make breast exams a priority.
“Regular checkups save lives – and we see this firsthand at our health centers,” said Rebecca Isaacs, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. “With as many as 30 percent of residents uninsured in some areas of Los Angeles County, it’s critical that women have access to affordable, preventive health care, including cancer screenings.”
Women across the county — like Estela Aguilar, a 28-year-old mother in Los Angeles — are struggling to afford basic, preventive health care. They rely on trusted community health care providers like Planned Parenthood for essential care. During a visit to Planned Parenthood, a lump was discovered in Estela’s breast, and she was referred to a hospital for a mammogram. Fortunately, it was a benign growth. But, like many other women, Estela credits a routine checkup with helping her take control of her health. Estela now knows how to give herself a breast exam and where to go if she finds another lump.
See Estela tell her story here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5PdX7X6Yj0&feature=channel
Women who don’t have health insurance, like Estela, are more likely to postpone care and delay or forgo important preventive care such as cancer screenings, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report. And women below the poverty level are less likely than women with higher incomes to have had a mammogram within the past two years.
Planned Parenthood Los Angeles health centers offer affordable, preventive reproductive health care, including routine breast exams. In 2008, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles performed over 32,000 breast exams and in 2007more than 850,000 women were screened for breast cancer at Planned Parenthood health centers across the country.
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month aims to increase public knowledge about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Nearly 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year in the United States, and about 40,000 women will die from it. Breast cancer screenings, such as breast exams or mammograms, help detect breast cancer in its earliest stages.
Planned Parenthood Los Angeles serves over 115,000 women, men and families annually across Los Angeles through compassionate, high-quality and affordable reproductive health care services. A major provider of sex education, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles’ programs focus on prevention and include: middle and high school sex education classes, parent-child education workshops, teen pregnancy prevention programs, a partnership with the Public Health Institute (PHI) and the University of Southern California (USC) to create effective sex education curricula, and community outreach programs on sexual and reproductive health topics.