October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Take time to educate, participate, and encourage yourself and others

Each year, October brings breast cancer front and center. As Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it provides opportunities to promote screenings and the warning signs of this life-threatening disease. In addition, the Health Department of Northwest Michigan (HDNW) and the Northern Michigan Public Health Alliance recognize Oct. 13 as Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day and Oct. 17-23 as Men’s Breast Cancer Awareness Week.

So, get out your pink, show your support by attending local events, and schedule those screenings.

Did you know that:

  • One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. According to the Susan G. Komen organization, one woman is diagnosed every two minutes in the U.S.
  • The two most common risk factors of breast cancer are being born a female and getting older.
  • In 2022, an estimated 44,000 people in America died from breast cancer.

HDNW helps women—and men—be proactive in fighting breast cancer through education, awareness, and screenings.

“Our Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Navigation Program (BC3NP) provides low-income women access to mammograms and pap tests, both of which are critical screenings,” says Melissa Hahn, HDNW Director of Family Health. “If a woman is diagnosed, we will also work to help them qualify for a special Medicaid program through BC3NP to help with the costs of treatment.”

The program covers pap smears for women 21 to 64, mammograms for women 40-64, and MRIs based on personal and family risk. Over 75 services are provided through BC3NP, including:

  • Diagnostic mammograms
  • Ultrasounds, and
  • Breast biopsies.

“We are fortunate to be able to offer this program to area residents,” says HDNW Nurse Practitioner Jordan Wyeth, who has personally celebrated cancer-free status with women diagnosed with breast cancer in early stages at the health department. “Early detection and effective treatment are critical lifesaving steps that we can all take and encourage.”

To see if you qualify for BC3NP or a type of insurance that can help cover screenings, call the local HDNW staff at 800-432-4121. To learn more about the symptoms of breast cancer, go to https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/symptoms.htm.