New York, NY – October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Planned Parenthood is making sure that women across the country are aware that Planned Parenthood health centers provide education about breast cancer risk factors, clinical breast exams that can detect abnormalities and referrals for diagnostic services – including mammograms.
Planned Parenthood provides a wide range of preventive health care services to 2.7 million people every year, including nearly 500,000 breast exams at health centers across the country which helped identify cancer or serious other issues for nearly 90000 patients.
“At Planned Parenthood we are very proud of our role as a leading provider of breast health care for women in the fight to detect breast cancer early and ensure good breast health for women of all ages,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Providing breast cancer screenings is an incredibly important part of the work we do here at Planned Parenthood, and demonstrates the many ways our services can truly be lifesaving for many women including those who are uninsured and women of color who are often more likely to lack access to health care and as such be at a greater risk for breast cancer than others.”
Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the U.S., and has a particularly devastating impact on women of color. African American women have the highest incidence rate of breast cancer among women under the age of 45, and are more likely to die from breast cancer than any other group Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among Latinas. Latinas are more likely to die from breast cancer than non-Hispanic white women when diagnosed at a similar age and stage.
A Planned Parenthood patient from Plano, Texas, Dayna Farris-Fisher, recently shared her story of being uninsured and receiving lifesaving breast health care at her local health center:
A few months later while I was undressing after working out, I felt something in my breast. Figuring it couldn't be a coincidence or a hernia, I knew that I needed to get it looked at right away. Unfortunately, there are very few screening options in the Dallas area for women like me without health insurance or the ability to pay directly. Of the handful of clinics that accepted patients like me, I did not meet the qualifications of three of them because of my background or where I live. Of the two that said I qualified for treatment, one was out of funding and hoping it would be restored at the start of the new year. The other was booked at least eight weeks out.
Thankfully, they suggested Planned Parenthood. Not only were they able to see me immediately but they offered the financial assistance I needed to get the diagnostic testing done immediately. Vivian, my guardian nurse, literally saved my life. She worked tirelessly to make sure a grant — which the Texas Legislature later disqualified Planned Parenthood patients from receiving — would cover the costs of the diagnostic tests required.
Vivian called me just about every day to make sure that I was being scheduled for the proper tests quickly and that the costs would be covered. When word came back that I had invasive lobular carcinoma — or as my surgeon refers to it, "a tricky form" of breast cancer — Vivian and Planned Parenthood helped me fill out the applications for funds that would allow me to begin treatment. Planned Parenthood is the main reason why I'm alive today. She went above and beyond, understanding that access to timely care is a human right that should be available to all women.
To read her full story please see here:
Some women put off breast cancer screenings due to lack of information, limited access to care, or fear. Planned Parenthood is encouraging women to share information with their friends and family about the importance of early detection. This is particularly critical for African American women and Latinas, who are often diagnosed with breast cancer at later stages.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
October 02, 2015