Harris County Public Health Offering Free Clinical Breast Cancer Screenings for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Health & Science

Harris County Public Health Offering Free Clinical Breast Cancer Screenings for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 03 2023

October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Harris County Public Health (HCPH) is urging community members to prioritize their health and well-being. HCPH is dedicated to educating Harris County community members about the preventative measures they can take to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer and the importance of scheduling regular screenings for early detection.

HCPH is offering FREE clinical breast cancer screenings to eligible residents during October. The screenings will be available at HCPH Humble, Southeast, and Antoine clinics, the East and Northeast Harris County Precinct 2 Access2Health Smart PodsTM, and the mobile clinic located in Cypress Station.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women, affecting 1 in 8 women in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 264,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer; sadly, more than 42,000 lose their lives to this disease. Black women have a significantly higher breast cancer death rate than white women.

Most cases of breast cancer are detected in women 50 years and older, although this disease can also affect younger women. Regardless of age, a breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment can be challenging, but it may prove even more overwhelming for young survivors.

Breast cancer is commonly linked to women but can also affect men. About 1% of breast cancer cases in the U.S. occur in men. According to the CDC, 2,400 men are diagnosed with breast cancer, and 500 die annually.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), an estimated 300,590 new breast cancer cases for both men and women are projected in 2023. Sadly, it is also estimated that around 43,700 people will lose their lives to breast cancer in the United States.

Everyone should be aware of breast cancer's risk factors and symptoms, regardless of gender. Like many other diseases, people can have different signs of breast cancer, and some might not have any symptoms. Some warning signs of breast cancer that women should look for include:
  • A lump in the breast or armpit
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast
  • Pain in any area of the breast
The most common warning signs of breast cancer that men should look for are:
  • A lump or swelling in the breast
  • Redness or flaky skin in the breast
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
  • Nipple discharge
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area

Mammograms are X-rays of the breast and are the most effective and commonly used method for early detection of breast cancer. Regular mammogram screenings can significantly lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. Clinical breast exams, which your doctor performs during your annual well-woman exam or breast self-exams, can also help improve your chances of detecting breast cancer early.

Taking care of your health can help lower your risk of breast cancer, even though some factors, such as aging or family history, cannot be changed. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout your life can reduce the likelihood of developing cancer and improve your chances of surviving it if it does occur.

HCPH provides various clinical and preventive health services to meet the essential healthcare needs of Harris County residents. HCPH clinics offer low-cost or free check-ups, breast exams, and mammogram referrals to qualified individuals.

Early detection saves lives! Together, we can raise awareness and take action against breast cancer. Call 832-927-7350 for eligibility and to schedule an appointment.

Source: HCPH

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