State cancer program urges mammograms for Mom’s Day

State cancer program urges mammograms for Mom's Day A state cancer control program is marking Mother's Day with a new name and a call to give the gift of life by encouraging regular mammograms and Pap smears.

"The name, All Women Count! sends the message that every woman should have access to regular screenings for breast and cervical cancer, no matter what her income is or where she lives," said Beth Davis, public education coordinator for the program. "And Mother's Day is a good time for all of us to remind our mothers, grandmothers, daughters and all women just how important screening is for the early detection of breast and cervical cancer."

Formerly the South Dakota Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program, All Women Count! provides no-cost mammograms, Pap smears and other related tests for South Dakota women who can't afford health insurance and those who can't afford to pay the deductible or co-payment under their insurance. The new name for the program was submitted by Linda Penrod, a community health nurse from Gettysburg and was chosen from among more than 525 entries statewide.

Now in its third year, the program has screened more than 1,500 women and has 720 participating providers. Davis said the screening is critical to early detection and successful treatment of both breast and cervical cancer.

"Breast cancer is most curable when detected in its earliest stages and cervical cancer is nearly 100 percent preventable with regular Pap smears," said Davis. "A mammogram can find a breast lump as early as two years before it can be felt. A Pap smear can find cervical cancer long before signs and symptoms show up. All Women Count! wants to make sure cost concerns don't keep any woman from getting these lifesaving screenings."

Davis encouraged women to contact All Women Count! at 1-800-738-2301 or their local community health nursing office to find out about enrolling in the program. Information is also available on the Department of Health Web site at www.state.sd.us/doh/Disease2/cancer/htm. The program has also developed new educational materials such as brochures, posters, bookmarks and table tents, which are available upon request.

"Each year, close to 200,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer and most of these cases are curable if detected early enough," said Davis. Women give lots of reasons for not getting regular mammograms and Pap smears, but there remains one grater reason to do it, to live a longer healthier life."

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