EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE
Monday, October 27, 1997
NCI Press Office
The National Cancer Institute Launches Education Campaign
on Mammography and Breast Cancer Risk
- Resources for the Public: These include a comprehensive breast health booklet
titled, Understanding Breast Changes; The Facts About Breast Cancer and Mammograms, a
pamphlet that explains the risk factors for breast cancer and the benefits and limitations of
mammography; and Mammograms...Not just once, but for a lifetime, an easy-to-read
publication and bookmark that explain the importance of regular mammograms for women in
their 40s and older.
- Resources for Health Professionals: These include Why Get Mammograms?, a
physician's pad with tear-off fact sheets on mammograms for patients; and Over 40?
Consider Mammograms, a set of five posters each featuring a woman of a different
- Breast Cancer and Mammography Fact Sheets: These include information
describing the incidence and mortality rates for breast cancer among racial/ethnic groups, as
well as the proportion of women from each group that gets regular mammograms; and,
information describing NCI's screening position, the risks and limitations of mammograms,
and factors placing women at increased risk of developing breast cancer.
The new mammography brochures can be ordered by calling NCI's Cancer Information
Service (CIS) at 1-800-4-CANCER. The CIS is a nationwide information and education network for
patients, the public, and health professionals that also can provide information from NCI's PDQ (Physician
Data Query) database about controlled, randomized clinical trials on breast cancer screening, prevention and
The new information is also available on the NCI Internet website for patients, the public,
and the mass media at http://rex.nci.nih.gov (click on the "About Mammograms" button). This page is part
of the overall NCI website at http://www.nci.nih.gov.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women, with
181,600 new cases expected this year. It is also the second leading cause of cancer death, after lung cancer,
in American women. In 1997, there will be an estimated 43,900 deaths from breast cancer in the U.S.
Because screening with high-quality mammograms, along with clinical breast exams, is the
most effective way to detect breast cancer as early as possible, the NCI recommends that women in their 40s
and older get a mammogram on a regular basis, every one to two years. Women at increased risk for breast
cancer because of personal or family history, or other risk factors should also talk to their doctors about
when to begin getting regular mammograms and how often to get them.
Several studies show that regular screening mammograms can help to decrease the chance of
dying from breast cancer. Estimates show that if 10,000 women age 40 were screened every year for 10
years, about four lives would be saved and regular screening of 10,000 women age 50 would save about 37
By launching this education campaign, the NCI is encouraging women to make regular
screening mammograms and clinical breast exams a routine part of their health care.