Trenessa K. Jones, DSL
Best Chance Network Director
Division of Cancer Prevention & Control
Although Breast Cancer Awareness Month is winding down, the need to continue proactive efforts to raise awareness about the disease and urge people to get screened remains.
To that end, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC) Best Chance Network (BCN), along with its many partners, will continue to do what they have been doing for 26 years: educate the public on the importance of breast and cervical cancer screenings and help those who cannot afford to get screened.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), 3,820 South Carolina women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 690 will die from the disease this year.
BCN, which is administered by DHEC’s Cancer Prevention and Control Division, offers breast and cervical cancer screenings at no cost to women who have no health insurance or only have hospitalization insurance, who are between the ages of 30 and 64, and who meet certain income guidelines. The BCN program partners with more than 450 health care providers in the state to coordinate cancer screenings for these under-served women. The program also offers diagnosis and treatment, data tracking, public education and more.
Since its inception, BCN has provided more than 220,000 breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings for eligible women, assisting nearly 11,000 this past year alone.
The most recent South Carolina Central Cancer Registry data (2009-2013) indicates that more than 70 percent of women in South Carolina are diagnosed at an early stage, when the cancer is most treatable. In 2013, the South Carolina breast cancer incidence rate was 125.9 per 100,000 women ranking SC 28th out of 50 states and Washington, DC. The mortality rate was 22.4 per 100,000 women. SC ranked 21st out of 50 states and Washington, DC.
Early diagnosis is paramount: The earlier breast cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat. That is BCN’s goal: to help women in South Carolina gain an edge in their battle against cancer — and win.
Visit the DHEC website for more information on BCN.