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National Breast Cancer Awareness Month --- October 2005

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in the United States (1). Mammography can detect breast cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage, as early as 3 years before lumps are detected during breast self-exams or clinical breast examinations.

According to United States Cancer Statistics: 2002 Incidence and Mortality, which includes cancer incidence data for approximately 93% of the U.S. population and cancer mortality data for the entire population, approximately 180,000 cases of breast cancer were diagnosed among women in 2002, and approximately 41,000 women died from the disease. Among men, approximately 1,600 cases of breast cancer were diagnosed, and 369 men died from the disease (2).

The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, administered by CDC, helps low-income, uninsured, and underserved women gain access to breast and cervical cancer screening services. The program has served approximately 2.5 million women, provided approximately 5.8 million screening examinations, and diagnosed approximately 22,000 cases of breast cancer since 1991. Additional information about CDC programs that promote early detection and treatment of breast and cervical cancer is available at


  1. American Cancer Society. Cancer facts and figures. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; 2005.
  2. US Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States cancer statistics: 2002 incidence and mortality. Atlanta, GA: National Cancer Institute, US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2005. In press.

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