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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 26, 2016

DHEC and BCN Partners Working Together to Help More Women Access Breast Cancer Screenings

COLUMBIA, S.C. - With Breast Cancer Awareness Month coming to a close, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the Best Chance Network (BCN) are taking this opportunity to remind the public about the importance of breast and cervical cancer screenings.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), 3,820 South Carolina women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 690 will die from the disease this year. With the goal of saving lives, DHEC's BCN program offers breast and cervical cancer screenings at no cost to women who have no health insurance or only have hospitalization insurance, are between the ages of 30 and 64, and who meet certain income guidelines. The BCN program partners with more than 450 health care providers in the state to coordinate cancer screenings for these under-served women.

"Early detection is key to the successful identification and treatment of breast cancer. Our ongoing efforts and yearly screening practices have helped contribute to an 8 percent increase in early diagnoses over the past year." said Stephanie Hinton, Director, DHEC, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. "We are in our 26th year and are proud of the continued progress in the fight to provide eligible women from across the state with these vital lifesaving services."

Since its inception 26 years ago, BCN has provided more than 220,000 breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings for eligible women, assisting nearly 11,000 this past year alone.

"The BCN program has been one of our most important and longstanding collaborations and ensures we meet our classroom, clinical, and professional objectives," said Paula Watt, PHD, FNP-BC, Director, Joseph F. Sullivan Center. "The BCN program has been the ideal program for us to take to the community, provide access to needed services, and collaborate with local mammography facilities. With mobile and offsite clinics in over 17 locations, and more expected this year, BCN supports services to women all over the state, in rural communities and in hard to reach areas."

The most recent South Carolina Central Cancer Registry Data (2009-2013) indicates that more than 70 percent of women in South Carolina are diagnosed at an early stage when the cancer is most treatable. In 2013, the South Carolina breast cancer incidence rate was 125.9 per 100,000 women and the mortality rate was 22.4 per 100,000 women.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, no matter their race or ethnicity. In addition, it is the second most common cause of death from cancer among women in South Carolina and nationwide.

"The mobile health screening programs from MUSC Hollings Cancer Center in the Lowcountry and Clemson University in the Upstate region have partnered to provide access to screenings for breast and cervical cancer, heart disease and stroke risk factors, and tobacco cessation for women in under-served communities," said Debbie Chatman Bryant, DNP, RN, Director for Outreach and Community Relations, Hollings Cancer Center, MUSC. "It is our hope that the combined efforts of BCN and two university-based mobile programs will continue to have a great impact on the early detection rates of cancer and the overall health of our communities."

By providing access to early detection and treatment services, the program aims to help more women in South Carolina win their battle against cancer.

For more information, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345, and ask about the South Carolina BCN or contact DHEC at 803-898-1615 to inquire about services.

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DHEC Media Relations
media@dhec.sc.gov
803.898.1127