Breast Health Awareness Month

When Colleen Luther was 27, she found a lump in her breast. She had lost her health insurance when she was laid off from her job.
Colleen’s primary care physician wasn’t able to help her, and neither was any other doctor she called. Discouraged, and assuming that, given her age, the lump wasn’t anything to worry about, Colleen was close to ignoring it. “But then I remembered that Planned Parenthood had a sliding [fee] scale. So that’s why I came in.” Turned out it was good that she did.

Colleen was like a lot of young women—not sure what to do and afraid.

Planned Parenthood, the nation's leading women's health care provider and advocate, is encouraging women under 40 to take control of their breast health, and has released a new video to help educate young women on what to do if they notice a change in their breasts.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) reports that an estimated 230,480 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, accounting for almost 1 in 3 cancers diagnosed in women. (Men can get breast cancer too, but it is far less common, accounting for only 1% of breast cancer cases in the United States.)

Clinical breast exams (C.B.E.s) are the first line of defense for providers in detecting breast cancer in most young women. C.B.E.s are offered at Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood as a routine part of a gynecological or annual exam, or in response to concerns like Colleen’s. Each year, doctors and nurses from Planned Parenthood affiliates across the U.S. provide nearly 750,000 breast exams. Like most ob/gyns and primary care physicians, if a Planned Parenthood health care provider finds an abnormality during an exam, the patient is referred to a breast specialist for further examination, which may include diagnostic tests, like an ultrasound or biopsy.

Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood also enrolls eligible patients in the free Cancer Services Program, which provides coverage for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screenings at no cost to eligible New York men and women who either have no insurance or who are under-insured, or who cannot pay for screenings.

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