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Missoula Measures - Breast and Cervical Cancer  



Why this topic?

American women have a one-in-eight risk of developing breast cancer over an average lifetime. Mammography has been shown to reduce deaths by 26% for women aged 50 and over (although it does not appear to reduce breast cancer mortality for pre-menopausal women) Personal Health: A Multicultural Approach, 1995.

Current mammogram guidelines recommend that women over 20 do self-exams every month, receive clinical breast exams between ages 20-40 every three years, receive an initial mammogram at 35, and annual mammograms beginning at 40.


Breast and cervical health screenings:

% of MT women who had mammogram in past 2 years

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graph % MT women over 18 who had pap in past 3 years 

More data and discussion


graph incidence of cancer by site 

Brief Background


Breast Self-Exams

Nine out of 10 women discover tumors through regular breast self-exam, and 80% of those tumors are benign The Impact of Cancer on Montana, Part 1: Cancer Fact Book, 1995  However, tumors detected in this manner are usually larger and in a later stage of growth.

Why don’t some Missoula women get mammograms?

In six Missoula focus groups conducted in 1995 by Partnership Health Center, reasons for not getting mammograms included:

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer:

Female, ageing, high alcohol consumption, being overweight, maybe a high-fat diet. However, over 80% of women having breast cancer have NO identified risk factors.

 Early detection is the key to successfully treating, and surviving, breast or cervical cancer.  Over 95% of women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer survive when it is found early. Karen Cater, DPHHS

Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer:

Center for Disease Prevention and Control

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Local agencies that address this topic

The Montana Breast and Cervical Health Program has produced a brochure called Side by Side that summarizes services of the MBCHP, the American Cancer Society, and the Montana Komen Race for the Cure, as well as more websites.

The Montana Breast and Cervical Health Program has an administrative site at Partnership Health Center in Missoula offering yearly mammograms, clinical breast exams, education, and regular Pap tests to uninsured or underinsured women ages 50 through 64. Income to qualify is up to and including 200% of poverty (a woman in a one person household can earn up to $7.92 per hour in a full-time job and qualify). The Missoula site serves Missoula, Mineral, and Ravalli counties and has providers in  each county to serve qualified women. The Missoula program is administered through Partnership Health Center. The Montana information number is 1-888-803-9343.



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