PENNSYLVANIA – The American Cancer Society (ACS) today released new, weakened breast cancer screening guidelines, changing the recommended age for women to begin yearly mammograms to age 45 and every two years after age 55. Previously, the guidelines suggested annual mammograms beginning at age 40 for average risk women.
American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Guidelines – published 10/20/15
- Women with an average risk of breast cancer – most women – should begin yearly mammograms at age 45.
- Women should be able to start the screening as early as age 40, if they want to. It’s a good idea to start talking to your health care provider.
- At age 55, women should have mammograms every other year – though women who want to keep having yearly mammograms should be able to do so.
- Regular mammograms should continue as long as a woman is in good health.
- Breast exams, either from a medical provider or self-exams, are no longer recommended.
The American Cancer Society bases its shift in suggested age and frequency on the occurrence of false positives/false alarms. The PA Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC) cautions women in Pennsylvania on these latest, more confusing guidelines.
“This is a step in the wrong direction,” said PA Breast Cancer Coalition President and Founder Pat Halpin-Murphy. “Most women we speak with would prefer to have a second mammogram or an ultrasound rather than to find cancer at a later, less treatable stage. The advent of 3D mammograms will alleviate much of the ACS’s concern over false positives since 3D mammograms reduce false alarms by 27 percent and increase early detection by 20 percent. The PBCC continues to recommend mammograms for women beginning at age 40 for the average woman until a more perfect test is developed.”
Pennsylvania law requires insurers to cover the cost of all mammograms once a year for women beginning at age 40. Governor Tom Wolf, First Lady Frances Wolf and the PBCC announced earlier this month that 3D mammograms are covered under the same law for women insured in Pennsylvania effective immediately.
About the PA Breast Cancer Coalition
The PBCC represents, supports and serves breast cancer survivors and their families in Pennsylvania through educational programming, legislative advocacy and breast cancer research grants. The PBCC is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure now…so our daughters won’t have to. For more information, please call 800-377-8828 or visit www.PABreastCancer.org.
The 2015 PA Breast Cancer Coalition Conference was one for the history books. Not only did we have a day focused on education, empowerment and advocacy, we welcomed major news from PA First Lady and PBCC Honorary Chair Frances Wolf. Mrs. Wolf announced that 3D mammograms are now required to be covered by the insurance companies for women in Pennsylvania. The 3D cutting-edge mammogram that was costing $60 to $600 for some insured women is now available at no cost.
Big, BIG news! Pennsylvania is now the first state in nation to require coverage for 3D mammograms, effective now. The PA Breast Cancer Coalition would like to thank Governor Tom Wolf, First Lady Frances Wolf and Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller for making this life-changing milestone possible for women in Pennsylvania!
The Conference had other surprises in store for guests and awardees alike. We honored outstanding triple-negative breast cancer expert and researcher Dr. Edith Mitchell from the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson University Hospitals with our prestigious Potamkin Prize. PA Rep. Matt Baker won a Pink Ribbon Award for his commitment to women’s health and our Breast Density Notification Act, and Dr. Wendie Berg of Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC received a Pink Ribbon Award for her tremendous work on the issue of breast density. The PA Breast Cancer Coalition surprised Dr. Berg with a $50,000 Extraordinary Opportunity Grant to move forward with her research studying the accuracy of ultrasound vs. 3D mammograms for women with dense breasts.
Those are only a few of the day’s highlights. We enjoyed spending the day with you! If you haven’t already done so, please take 2 minutes to fill out this survey to ensure next year’s Conference is even better. You will automatically be entered to win a PBCC prize pack!
Thank you for participating in our historic 2015 PBCC Conference!
Survivor Julie Rockey has quite the to-do list. Not only does she have her hands full as a new mom to baby boy Maverick, Julie is busy year-round working full-time and planning the Ta-Ta Trot, an annual Grassroots Partner for the PA Breast Cancer Coalition, Geisinger Medical Center and Evangelical Community Hospital. After facing her own breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 30, Julie decided she had to do something for other women facing what she faced. For her outstanding work and dedication to making a difference, the PA Breast Cancer Coalition will present Julie Rockey with the 2015 Shining Light Award at this year’s PBCC Conference.
During her chemotherapy, Julie was approached to organize a 5K. In that first year, 50 people participated in the Ta-Ta Trot and raised over $3,300. The event has grown tremendously and, over the years, has boasted thousands of trotters from all 50 states with more than $348,000 raised for breast cancer charities since 2010. Congratulations Julie and all participants of the Ta-Ta Trot!
Be there Sunday, October 4 at the PBCC Pink Party in the Hilton Harrisburg as we honor Julie for her tremendous contributions to our mission of finding a cure for breast cancer. Click here to RSVP!
“Breast cancer has been my life sentence, not my death sentence. This award is really for the event itself because I don’t do it alone. There are so many people that help. It’s the whole community.”
Will YOU join us in honoring Julie at the PBCC Pink Party and our other incredible awardees at the 2015 PBCC Conference? Register today and make a day of it!
The 2015 PA Breast Cancer Coalition Conference offers everything you need to know about breast cancer in one place. From the latest research on metastatic breast cancer to lymphedema to sexuality and fertility to topics like yoga and nutrition, there is something for everyone. Workshops are offered in two sessions, before and after our Pink Ribbon Awards Luncheon. In addition to the expert information, attendees have an opportunity to connect with other survivors, medical professionals and researchers from across Pennsylvania.
Enjoy our extensive exhibitor area with opportunities to shop, network and learn. Be inspired by our 2015 Awardees’ efforts in “finding a cure for breast cancer now… so our daughters won’t have to.” There is truly something for everyone at the Conference. Make a day if it!
The PBCC is also proud to offer 3 FREE Continuing Education hours for ALL nurses in attendance. Scholarships and travel grants for the Conference are available through the Cary Massa Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Helen Michener, Perry County
I spent most of my nursing career in pediatrics but occasionally would also moonlight a few shifts a week in oncology. I decided then and there that if breast cancer ever happened to me I would have a mastectomy to feel like the cancer was gone. It DID happen to me. And my life changed forever.
My routine mammogram in October 2013 revealed areas of calcification that weren’t there the year before. I was very lucky that it hadn’t spread to the lymph nodes and it was in the early stage. I didn’t need chemo or radiation after the surgery and I’m taking tamoxifen for five years.
I feel like I breezed through it physically, but not emotionally. It changes your life. At first I wanted to just forget about it and not tell people because I didn’t want it to define me. I learned though how to integrate breast cancer into who I am rather than integrating myself into breast cancer. One of the ways I did that was to embrace the community I’m now part of with the PBCC. I visited Kristen Snoke, PBCC Community Outreach Director to discuss how I could help. It seemed like raising funds through grassroots efforts would be a good fit for me. I created a wine-tasting event, Toasting for a Cure at the Vineyard in the spring and we made $8,355. I now know that that’s very good for a first-time effort. I’m planning a fall fundraiser called Drive Out Breast Cancer, and hope to get car dealerships to donate $25 for every new car they sell throughout the month of October.
My husband Bob and I live in an intentional community of seven families who own a 140-acre farm together. It was a great place to raise our children. We have a son and a daughter and two granddaughters. My granddaughter Amelia was ten years old when I was diagnosed and she said, “You talked to Mommy for a long time and now she’s sad. Breast cancer, that’s bad, isn’t it?” I told her, “No, honey, it doesn’t have to be.” Amelia and Kasey are both part of Art Symphony for a Cause and make crafts they sell for nonprofits. They came to the wine tasting and made $170 to donate to the PBCC. The PBCC tagline “finding a cure for breast cancer now … so our daughters won’t have to” really speaks to my heart.
Have dense breasts? You may need extra tests. If you opt for a 3D mammogram, WE believe, your 3D mammogram should be covered under current law. 3D mammograms are mammograms. Are you with us? How can YOU help?
Tell us your story. Send an email to Info@PABreastCancer.org with “3D Mammograms” in the subject line. Tell us why you are so passionate about this topic (like we are!) and why you feel 3D mammograms should be treated the same as 2D screening mammograms when it comes to billing and insurance. The PA Breast Cancer Coalition is taking action on this important issue, but we cannot do it alone. Send us your story today!
Now through October 31, you can make a difference for Pennsylvania women facing breast cancer, with one simple text message. Text “HOPEPA” to 89800 and Sutter Home Winery will donate $1 to the PA Breast Cancer Coalition. Plus, a portion of Sutter Home wine sales in PA will also be donated to our cause.
The texting campaign runs through the end of October. Standard data and messaging rates apply. Sutter Home will donate up to $10,000 to the PBCC during that time period, so get texting!
Look for this ad at your local wine and spirits store and help us provide hope in PA for survivors and their families:
A new study points to electroacupuncture as an effective treatment for hot flashes in women who received estrogen-targeted therapies for breast cancer. Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania studied 120 breast cancer survivors experiencing hot flashes on a daily basis. After 8 weeks, the patients receiving electroacupuncture showed greater results than those taking common drugs used to treat the symptoms.
What is electroacupuncture? Electroacupuncture is a procedure in which embedded needles deliver weak electrical currents to the body. According to the study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, patients say they experienced fewer hot flashes during the electroacupuncture than with other treatments.
To read the complete study results, click here.