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Mammograms encouraged by U.S. Senator Larry Craig and his wife

August 25, 2017

???Breast cancer deaths in America have been declining for more than a decade. Much of that success is due to early detection and better treatments for women. I strongly encourage women to get a mammogram,??? said Sen. Craig, who serves as Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging.

Medicare pays 80 percent of the approved cost for a screening mammogram while the patient pays the remaining 20 percent. According to published reports, mammograms generally cost between $100 and $150.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also pay all or some of the cost of breast cancer screening services through its National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. The program provides mammograms and breast exams by a health professional to low-income, underinsured, and underserved women in all 50 states, six U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and 14 American Indian/Alaska Native organizations. For more information, contact your state health department or call the Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER.

???Every woman has a loved one or friend whose life has been impacted by this life-threatening disease. I join Larry in encouraging women to contact their doctor about getting a mammogram as soon as they can,??? said Suzanne Craig.

The CDC reports that mammography screening among women 40 years older or older could prevent approximately 16 percent of all deaths from breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American women.

The American Cancer Society??s website reports that breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the United States and accounts for nearly one out of three cancers diagnosed in U.S. women. The disease also accounted for 1,300 deaths among American men last year.

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Ovarian tissue freezing offers another means of preserving future fertility for women undergoing potentially sterilizing cancer treatments. For a woman who does not have a husband or partner at the time of her treatment, this method has the advantage of leaving open her future choice of the father of her children. However, researchers are concerned that grafting back preserved ovarian tissue may be dangerous if the tissue contains undetected malignant cells.

Doctors in Israel have developed methods for screening ovarian tissue for malignancies. First, ovarian tissue obtained through laparoscopy is prepared in slices for freezing. Then, very small portions are taken from each slice and analyzed for microscopic malignancies. If cancer cells or markers are found in the sample, the patient??s ovarian tissue is not frozen.

The methods used to test for each type of cancer are different. Ovarian tissue from leukemia and lymphoma patients is tested for specific chromosomal translocations; breast cancer patients?? tissue is stained for tumor antigens; and tissue from patients with Hodgkin??s lymphoma is examined pathologically. (Abstract No. O-289 Detection of Microscopic Metastasis of Solid Tumors and Hematological Malignancies in Cryopreserved Ovaries. Shai E. Elizur et al.)

???This work advances the goal of providing the best, individualized treatments to patients. Preserving fertility is a very important goal for many cancer patients, but the method chosen must be the safest. The techniques Dr. Elizur presents are essential to avoid transferring cancer cells back to patients who have completed treatment. The implications for testicular tissue cryopreservation and bone marrow transplantation are important, as well,??? remarked Owen Davis, MD, President of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology.

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