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 WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Donna E. Shalala today announced $18.4 million in awards to 21 state health departments to expand a national breast and cervical cancer early detection program.
 The goal of the program is to reduce breast cancer deaths by 30 percent and cervical cancer deaths by more than 90 percent through increased mammographic and Pap testing. States are required to match each $3 of federal funds with $1 of state funds.
 "More than a half-million women may lose their lives to these cancers this decade," Shalala said. "We are taking aggressive action now to protect all American women from diseases that tragically have reached epidemic proportions."
 Forty-five states will now participate in a comprehensive, strategic approach among government, private sector and voluntary organizations to bring more women into screening programs.
 Authorized by the Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention Act of 1990 and administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this program began three years ago in eight states. State awards made previously in 1993 total $44.4 million.
 "The president's health care reform package will remove financial barriers women face in getting timely mammogram and Pap tests," Shalala said, "but that alone won't completely solve the problem. Programs like this will be needed to educate and encourage women to seek these screening services."
 The early detection program relies heavily upon outreach and educational systems to ensure widespread participation among all women. The benefit of such programs are particularly important for women of racial and ethnic minorities where mortality rates are disproportionately high.
 Educating health professionals as well as consumers is the cornerstone of this effort that seeks to guarantee women the most available, accessible and technically sound screening and follow-up experience possible. Sophisticated surveillance and evaluation systems monitor program progress.
 Funds are provided to states to build programs in two phases:
 "Comprehensive" awards, supporting fully implemented programs, averaging $3 million each, went to Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin.
 "Planning" awards, averaging $150,000 went to Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.
 Although breast and cervical cancers exhibit different patterns of disease, early detection and prompt treatment can alter the natural progression of both of these diseases and can reduce mortality.
 Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women and is second only to lung cancer as a cause of premature mortality. For 1993, the American Cancer Society estimates 181,000 new cases and 46,000 deaths. Although incidence rates are increasing, early detection and improved treatment have kept mortality rates stable over the past 50 years.
 In recent decades, cervical cancer has declined in incidence and mortality. Since 1950, the incidence of cervical cancer has decreased 76 percent and mortality from the disease has decreased 74 percent, attributed to widespread use of the Pap test.
 Since the early 1980s, however, the rate of decline of invasive cervical cancer has leveled. The American Cancer Society estimates 13,500 new cases of cervical cancer and 4,400 deaths in 1993.
 -0- 10/4/93
 /CONTACT: CDC Press Office, 404-639-3286/

CO: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Centers for Disease
 Control and Prevention ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU:

MH-DC -- DC023 -- 8421 10/04/93 14:15 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 4, 1993

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