Inside Health Care Episode #002: Mary Barton, MD, Breast Cancer Screening

October 18, 2017 · NCQA Communications

Breast Cancer Awareness Month began in 1985 to promote mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer.

As a result of this awareness effort, more women are getting screened. But we still have a long way to go to ensure every woman gets a recommended mammogram at the right time.

How do we ensure screenings happen at the right time?

As we like to say, NCQA has a measure for that. Our HEDIS measure for Breast Cancer Screening tracks women 50-74 who had at least one mammogram in the past two years.

In our latest Inside Health Care podcast, our own Dr. Mary Barton explains why measuring breast cancer screenings is the key to improvement.

Want to track screening rates?

Take a look at the chart for the NCQA Breast Cancer Screening measure. After more than 30 years of breast cancer awareness, you’d think the results would be higher.

These facts from the National Breast Cancer Foundation are staggering:

  • One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime
  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women.
  • Each year it is estimated that over 252,710 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,500 will die.
  • Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,470 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 460 will die each year.
  • On average, every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and 1 woman will die of breast cancer every 13 minutes.
  • Over 3.3 million breast cancer survivors are alive in the United States today.

These stats are no cause for celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month. They remind us how much farther we still have to go.

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