BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH SPEECH
OCTOBER 2, 1996


THANK YOU, DR. LEACH. AND THANK YOU, DORIS ROSENBAUM AND MEMBERS OF THE KENTUCKY BREAST CANCER COALITION AND BREAST CANCER ADVISORY COMMITTEE, FOR INVITING JUDI AND ME TO BE PART OF SUCH AN IMPORTANT EVENT.

ON BEHALF OF ALL KENTUCKIANS, WE WANT TO THANK ALL OF YOU WHO CAME TO THE CAPITOL TODAY TO SUPPORT THIS CAUSE.

YOU KNOW I'VE NEVER HAD MUCH PINK IN MY WARDROBE. BUT I'M GLAD TO BE WEARING THIS TOUCH OF PINK TODAY.

WE'RE HERE TO TRY TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT BREAST CANCER. IF YOU AND I RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT BREAST CANCER, WE GET TO SAVE LIVES. IF WE ALL RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT THIS DISEASE THAT KILLED 631 OF OUR WIVES AND MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS IN KENTUCKY LAST YEAR, ALL OF THEM BEFORE THEIR TIME, THEN WE ALL GET TO BE HEROES. THEN WE ALL CAN SAVE LIVES.

DID YOU KNOW THAT THE BREAST CANCER MORTALITY RATE IN KENTUCKY JUMPED IN THE PAST GENERATION? FROM 22.5 PER 100,000 IN 1972 TO 27.2 PER 100,000 IN 1994.

EXCEPT FOR CANCERS OF THE SKIN, BREAST CANCER IS THE MOST COMMON CANCER AMONG WOMEN. 13,556 CASES OF BREAST CANCER HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED IN KENTUCKY IN THE PAST FIVE YEARS.

YOU SEE, I REMEMBER WHEN PEOPLE USED TO BE AFRAID TO MENTION THE C WORD. I REMEMBER WHEN PEOPLE USED TO BELIEVE A DIAGNOSIS OF CANCER WAS THE KISS OF DEATH. BUT I KNOW THAT OUT HERE ON THE CAPITOL STEPS TODAY ARE HEALTHY YOUNG WOMEN WHO DEFY THAT OLD MYTH.

I KNOW MANY OF YOU HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH BREAST CANCER AND ARE LIVING PROOF HERE TODAY THAT WOMEN CAN LEAD ACTIVE, ENERGETIC LIVES AFTER BREAST CANCER. BUT THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN BY CHANCE IT HAPPENS WHEN A WOMAN IS AWARE. IT HAPPENS WHEN A WOMAN GETS REGULAR SCREENINGS AND GOOD HEALTH CARE.

WE DON'T KNOW WHAT CAUSES BREAST CANCER OR HOW TO PREVENT IT. SCIENTISTS ARE STILL WORKING ON THAT ONE. BUT WE DO KNOW WE CAN TURN THE MORTALITY RATE FOR BREAST CANCER BACK DOWN.

WE CAN SAVE LIVES AND WE ARE SAVING LIVES IN KENTUCKY WITH OUR SCREENING PROGRAMS. WE KNOW IF WE CAN CATCH A WOMAN'S CANCER WHEN IT'S SMALL WHEN IT'S ONLY A LITTLE SPOT ON AN X-RAY THAT SHE CAN HAVE A DARNED GOOD CHANCE OF BEATING BREAST CANCER AND LIVING A LONG, HEALTHY LIFE.

IN THE PAST FIVE YEARS, 31,700 KENTUCKY WOMEN RECEIVED BREAST CANCER SCREENING SERVICES THROUGH KENTUCKY'S LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENTS. AND THE NUMBER OF WOMEN WE SERVE GROWS EACH YEAR.

IN THE FISCAL YEAR THAT JUST ENDED, OUR LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS GAVE 9,337 MAMMOGRAMS TO KENTUCKY WOMEN. WE PROVIDE MAMMOGRAMS IN EVERY ONE OF KENTUCKY'S 120 COUNTIES THROUGH OUR LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS. AND THOSE SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE TO WOMEN WHOSE INCOMES ARE AS HIGH AS 2-1/2 TIMES POVERTY LEVEL.

WE WORK WITH LOCAL HOSPITALS AND DOCTORS. WE CONTRACT WITH MOBILE MAMMOGRAPHY VANS THAT TRAVEL THE STATE TO OFFER SERVICES. WE WORK WITH LOCAL SENIOR CENTERS AND OTHER LOCAL GROUPS TO RAISE AWARENESS.

STATE OF THE ART TREATMENT IS AVAILABLE TO WOMEN IN KENTUCKY WHO ARE DIAGNOSED WITH BREAST CANCER. WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS MAKE SURE EVERY INCIDENT OF BREAST CANCER IS DIAGNOSED AT AN EARLY STAGE.

SO, WE NEED MORE KENTUCKY WOMEN TO GET MAMMOGRAMS AND OTHER SCREENINGS FOR BREAST CANCER.

WE HAVE A SURVEY, THE BEHAVIORAL RISK FACTOR SURVEY, THAT TELLS US WHETHER KENTUCKY WOMEN ARE GETTING THEIR MAMMOGRAMS. ONLY ABOUT HALF OF KENTUCKY WOMEN AGE 50 AND OLDER, 55.7 PERCENT TO BE EXACT, HAD A MAMMOGRAM IN THE PREVIOUS TWO YEARS.

THAT'S JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH. EVERY WOMEN OVER 50 SHOULD HAVE A MAMMOGRAM EVERY YEAR. AND MANY WOMEN YOUNGER THAN 50 WHO HAVE HIGHER RISK FACTORS SHOULD BE GETTING MAMMOGRAMS EVERY YEAR.

SO WE NEED TO GET KENTUCKY WOMEN, OUR SISTERS AND WIVES AND MOTHERS, TO THINK OF GETTING THEIR MAMMOGRAMS LIKE THEY THINK OF GETTING THEIR TEETH CLEANED OR THEIR WINTER COAT OUT OF THE CLOSET OR LIKE HAVING ANOTHER BIRTHDAY.

WE'LL ASK THEM TO DO IT BECAUSE WE CARE ABOUT THEM. AND WE'LL OPEN THE DOORS TO MAKE IT AS EASY AS POSSIBLE.

THAT'S WHY TODAY I AM JOINING WITH YOU TO WEAR A PINK RIBBON ON THE STEPS OF THE CAPITOL. AND I THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO JOIN WITH YOU TO BE HEROES FOR A DAY TO SAVE LIVES FROM BREAST CANCER THIS YEAR BY PROCLAIMING OCTOBER AS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH IN KENTUCKY.