BATON ROUGE, La. — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards and Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Dr. Courtney N. Phillips issued a statement on National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the continued life-saving impacts of Medicaid expansion.
“Every October, we rededicate ourselves to raising awareness about the impact of breast cancer in our state and the life-saving importance of early detection,” Gov. Edwards said. “We stand with those who are fighting against this terrible disease and remember the loved ones who have tragically lost their lives. Thankfully, we also know when caught early the five-year survival rate is nearly 99 percent. Thanks to Medicaid expansion, more than 130,000 women in our state have received breast cancer screenings and diagnostic breast imaging. As a result, more than 1,800 have been diagnosed.”
“Louisiana has one of the highest mortality rates due to breast cancer, underscoring the need for all of us to stay focused on early detection,” said Dr. Phillips. “We are all busy, especially this time of year, and we know many women may have missed their routine health screenings during the pandemic. So, consider this your friendly reminder. Regular mammograms save lives. Make a plan today to get screened.”
According to the Louisiana Cancer Prevention and Control Programs, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women in Louisiana and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the mortality rate for breast cancer in United States is 19.4 per 100,000 women. In Louisiana, the mortality rate is 21.9 per 100,000 women.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year, while those 55 and older can switch to every 2 years or continue yearly screenings. Women at higher risk of breast cancer should start getting mammograms before age 45. To help lower your risk of breast cancer, you should maintain a healthy weight, stay active and lower alcohol consumption.
For more information on breast cancer, you can visit the CDC website.
Expanding Medicaid was Gov. Edwards’ first official act as governor on January 12, 2016. Today, more than 747,000 of Louisiana’s working poor have access to health care, including mammograms and other preventative health screenings, mental health resources, and substance abuse services. To learn more about the impact of Medicaid expansion in Louisiana, visit the Healthy Louisiana Dashboard.