October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month and Southeast Utah Health Department wanted to increase attention for the awareness so they stopped by Castle Country Radio to share some important information on the subject.

“So breast cancer is the most common occurring cancer in the U.S. in women except for basal and squamous cell cancers. It’s also the leading cause of female cancer related deaths in Utah,” said Register Nurse, Shawnee Ariotti. It is estimated that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer in their lifetime.

Breast cancer has certain risk factors such as sex, age, family history, alcohol consumption in harmful levels. “The biggest risk for breast cancer is being a woman, being over the age of 50, and a previous breast cancer, pre-cancerous condition, or having a close blood relative with breast cancer,” said Ariotti. Some of these risk factors can’t be changed but you can make lifestyle changes and part of this is early or annual screenings.

Mammograms have the ability to find breast cancer before it can be felt, or before there are any symptoms of cancer. “Recommendation after the age of 40 is every other year, and at the age of 50 it should be yearly. A better outcome is achievable if they catch something in the early stages and treatment can be, treatable,” stated Ariotti. Despite knowing that breast cancer screening saves lives, Utah continues to have some of the lowest screening rates in the country.

The Southeast Utah Health Department has a voucher program that can assist woman to get a screening done. “We even screen women that have insurance. A lot of insurances now will pay for screenings but if there’s an abnormal, sometimes they don’t pay for that. If you come through my program, we cover a diagnostic mammogram or a mammogram that needs further studies or views,” explained Ariotti. The Women’s Cancer Screening program is especially designed to serve women who qualify between the ages of 40-64. Eligibility is based on household size and income.

To learn more about Women’s Health visit the Southeast Utah Health Department website at https://www.seuhealth.com/