Breast cancer rates remain high in Connecticut, particularly for minority women

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HARTFORD -- Susan G. Komen of Southern New England released new data on Monday showing that Connecticut continues to have a high rate of breast cancer.

And while some areas do have high mortality rates, in general the prognosis is good for those who are diagnosed.

"The good news is that our mortality rates are relatively low, so we are probably doing a pretty good job with the screening that detects cancers early and helping people get into treatment. But we really are still not clear on what the causes of breast cancer are, so those incident rates are something we're still investigating," said Lori Van Dam, C.E.O. of Susan G. Komen of Southern New England.

One major issue that the new report is looking at is the gap in diagnoses between white women and minority women. Van Dam says many aren't diagnosed due to missing screenings or suffering financial problems.

"It's interesting. You know, people think with the Affordable Care Act that we've solved the insurance problem, and that simply isn't what we've found during our research," Van Dam explained. "And unfortunately, there are a lot of woman who are either uninsured or underinsured who aren't able to access the screenings that they need in order to make sure they continue to stay healthy. So part of what our efforts are going to be targeted for the next four years will be around helping to educate woman about the programs that are available to them."

One program that is seeing a lot of success is mobile mammography units. These vans operate in parking lots and other areas outside of hospitals, offering women who otherwise may not be able to afford one free or low-cost mammograms. The program is specifically designed for those who are insured, but whose insurance doesn't cover mammograms.

promo281054827You can check with your local hospital for days on which mammography vans are offered, or click here for a full list of services near you.

The map to the left indicates areas that are of-interest to the Komen group due to higher rates of breast cancer.

Van Dam explains, "These are areas of interest, and they are based on either where we see higher-than-average incidents of breast cancer, higher-than-average mortality, or higher-than-average late-stage diagnosis. So when we're looking at the kinds of programs we want to fund, we're really going to try and focus most of our efforts on the areas where the need is greatest."