Cancer - Breast

Breast Cancer in Cape May County
This year, an estimated 204,000 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and almost 40,000 will die. While the rate of new cases of breast cancer among all women is lower in Cape May County as compared to New Jersey for the period 1996-2000, the mortality rate is higher in Cape May County. According to the Cape May County Cancer Control and Prevention Capacity and Needs Assessment Report issued in December 2004, the breast cancer mortality rate was higher in Cape May County than it was statewide. This evidence suggests the need to educate county residents of the importance of regular breast exams and annual mammograms, as the mortality rate of this disease can be reduced through early detection and treatment.

Kevin Thomas, Health Officer, states that, “regular screenings remain the most effective way to identify breast cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages. For women 40 and over, having mammograms every 1 to 2 years can reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer.”

Breast Cancer Awareness
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Freeholder Gerald Thornton encourages all women over 40 to schedule a mammogram.

"Breast Cancer Awareness Month serves as an important reminder for women, their families and friends about the life saving practice of regular checkups," he said. "Take the time now to make an appointment.”

Free Mammograms for Uninsured/Qualified Women
To ensure mammograms are available for all women, the Cape May County Department of Health offers free mammograms to uninsured, qualified women through the NJ Cancer Education and Early Detection (CEED) Program with funding by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the NJ Department of Health & Senior Services. In 2006 the Cape May County Health Department screened 350 uninsured women for breast cancer. For an appointment call Carol Porter RN at 609-465-1200. All calls are confidential. The CEED program is supported by the Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Causes & Risk Factors
Researchers are investigating the causes and risk factors associated with breast cancer. Apart from age and genetic factors, researchers are now exploring how diet, exercise and hormonal factors are linked to breast cancer.

Ann Walker, Director of Public Health Nursing, advises:

"By maintaining a healthy weight, following a nutritious diet and exercising for at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week, people can reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases."