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Healthier Habits Can Reduce Breast Cancer
Updated October 24, 2016 7:38 AM | Filed under: Health
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - In observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is urging women to reduce their risk of the disease by adopting a healthy lifestyle and talking to their healthcare provider about early detection.

Some breast cancer risk factors, such as sex, age, family history and race, are outside anyone's control. However, there are several habits that can help to reduce a woman's risk, such as avoiding tobacco use, maintaining a healthy weight and staying physically active.

"By simply living healthier, it is possible to reduce the incidence of breast cancer in Indiana," said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. "All Hoosiers can benefit from taking a first step to improve their overall health and wellness."

In 2014, 4,653 cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed in Indiana. Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in Indiana, and the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Hoosier women.

The Surgeon General's Report on smoking and health, The Health Consequences of Smoking - 50 Years of Progress, suggests cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke may also contribute to breast cancer. According to the 2014 Indiana Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, more than 1 million adults in Indiana smoke.

Early detection is critical to increasing breast cancer survival rates. Women should have frequent conversations with their healthcare provider about their risks and how often they should be screened. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends a screening mammogram, which helps detect cancers before a lump can be felt, every two years for women ages 50 to 74.

Preventive screening services are included in most insurance policies at no cost. Individuals should check with their insurance provider for specific plan information.

Indiana's Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IN-BCCP) provides access to breast and cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic testing for uninsured and underinsured women who meet age and income eligibility requirements. In addition, the Medicaid Option 3 Treatment Program provides comprehensive medical coverage for women diagnosed outside the IN-BCCP. For more information on the IN-BCCP, call 317.233.7448 or visit

To learn more about breast cancer, including signs and symptoms, benefits of early detection and behaviors that can help decrease risk, visit the Indiana Cancer Facts and Figures 2015 report on the Indiana Cancer Consortium (ICC) website at

For information on quitting tobacco use, or for free quit assistance, please contact the Indiana Tobacco Quitline at, or call 1-800-QUIT NOW.

Organizations and individuals interested in reducing the burden of cancer in Indiana are urged to participate in the ICC. For more information, visit

For important health and safety information, visit the Indiana State Department of Health at or follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook

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