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Idaho ranks last in nation for rate of breast cancer screening

Idaho now has the lowest rate of breast cancer screening of all states plus the District of Columbia, the state Department of Health & Welfare reports, with more than 122,000 Idaho women over age 40 reporting they've not had a mammogram in the previous two years. Only 63.8 percent of Idaho women over 40 reported getting the screening in the past two years; the national average for those 2010 rankings is 76 percent, and the top state, Massachusetts, is at 83.6 percent. Washington state ranks 29th, with 74.6 percent of Washington women 40 and older reporting being screened for breast cancer in the last two years.

“Idaho has consistently ranked at or near the bottom for breast cancer screening,” said Patti Moran, head of the department's cancer program. “We want Idaho women to take note, and if they are 40 or older and haven’t had a mammogram this year, to make an appointment today to get screened. It could save their life.” Cancer has been the leading cause of death for Idaho women since 2008, and breast cancer rates are exceeded only by those for lung cancer. According to the Cancer Data Registry of Idaho, in 2009, 1,100 Idaho women were diagnosed with breast cancer and 185 died.

Early diagnosis of breast cancer, through screenings such as mammograms, vastly increases survival rates. “One out of eight women will get breast cancer during their lives, so early detection is their best protection,” Moran said. Click below for the department's full news release, including tips on screening resources.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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