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Home News Lower Your Risk: Breast Cancer a Killer in New Mexico
David Morgan
575-528-5197 Office
575-649-0754 Mobile

Lower Your Risk: Breast Cancer a Killer in New Mexico

More than just a color; more than just a fashion statement. The color pink has become synonymous with breast cancer awareness.

While the pink ribbon has long been the international symbol, pink is seen throughout Las Cruces and Doña Ana County as part of the annual “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” campaign, the popular local fundraiser for breast cancer research.

Every October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) reports that breast cancer remains the most common cancer among women in the state and the second leading cause of cancer death among New Mexico women.

NMDOH reports that each year an estimated 1,332 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in New Mexico and nearly 250 women will die. Every year, about 200,000 new cases of breast cancer are reported nationwide and more than 40,000 women die from the disease. The number of those deaths could be reduced with early detection.

Screening is so important because mammograms can find a breast cancer before it is large enough to feel or cause physical symptoms.  The earlier the treatment, the better the chance that treatment may be life-saving, depending on the breast cancer type and quality of care.   It’s estimated that for every 100 unscreened women who die from breast cancer that develops between ages 50 to 69, a lower number of 65 to 70 would die from breast cancer if they all received regular screening during that timeframe.

Screening also has risks, however, such as surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy for women whose breast cancers found on mammogram would never have caused symptoms or become life-threatening.  The National Cancer Institute reports at least one in five breast cancers found by screening could fall into this non-harmful category.  Because we don’t currently have ways to know which breast cancers will become deadly and which will not, some treatment is nearly always recommended.

The balance of risks and benefits of breast cancer screening varies depending on how old you are.  According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the benefits generally outweigh the risks for women ages 50 to 74 who have a mammogram every two years. The balance of risks and benefits is not as clear for women between 40 and 49 years of age, so screening all women in this age group is still up for debate.   Women ages 40 to 49 may want to talk with their doctors whether to start biannual screening before age 50, based on their personal risk factors and preferences. 

While screening is important for early detection of breast cancer, it doesn’t prevent the disease.  NMDOH does, however, recommend the following ways to lower your risk for developing breast cancer:

  • Control your weight.  Carrying excess weight can increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer after menopause.
  • Stay active and get at least moderate exercise (like walking) into your daily routine if you’re not already doing so.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Less than one drink per day is recommended for women.

Talk to your doctor about any questions you have about breast cancer. If the cost of a mammogram is an issue, call the NMDOH’s Breast and Cervical Cancer (BCC) Early Detection Program's bilingual, toll-free information line at 1-833-525-1811 to find out if you may be eligible for a free mammogram, and to find a participating medical provider in your area. The medical provider will make the final determination regarding your eligibility for the BCC Program.

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.

Versión en Español

En un esfuerzo para hacer que nuestros comunicados de prensa sean más accesibles, también tenemos disponibles una versión en español. Por favor presione el enlace de abajo para acceder a la traducción.

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