October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) is a collaboration of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to services.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and living with a disability doesn’t change that. And while regular breast cancer screenings can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women with a disability reported a lower rate of mammography use than women without a disability. Studies also show higher rates of death in women with disability than women without disability, even when diagnosed at the same stage.
A study of 32 family caregivers of women with intellectual disability showed that one of the most common barriers people with disabilities face when deciding whether or not they will be screened is ignorance—either their or their caregiver(s)’ lack of understanding of the procedure. The study, Family Caregivers’ Perspectives on Barriers and Facilitators of Cervical and Breast Cancer Screening for Women with Intellectual Disability is available through the NARIC Collection’s document delivery service.
Another issue facing women with disabilities is knowing what is “normal” for each person’s body and being attentive to changes. To help women feel comfortable and understand these concerns, a public service video about the “Women be Healthy” program featuring five women with disabilities explains the basics of mammograms and physical examinations by a clinician or by the woman herself.
Below is a list of organizations that can provide you with information resources on breast cancer and other cancers.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
American College of Radiology (ACR)
.Orgs: Resources and Advocacy
The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
Men Against Breast Cancer (MABC)
National Medical Association (NMA)
The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS)