breast cancer awareness monthOf the many months of observances celebrated across the United States, it seems Breast Cancer Awareness Month gets much of the love. Not surprising, as nearly 300,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, with more than 50% choosing mastectomy surgery, a procedure which can be life-changing for many.

The American Cancer Society reports breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the U.S., except for skin cancer. This constitutes about 30% (or, 1 in 3) of all new female cancers on an annual basis. The ACS also estimates that this year: About 51,400 new cases of ductal carcinoma will be diagnosed. Nearly 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed.

An estimated 43,250 women will die from breast cancer in 2022. As with all diagnostic and health related examinations and testing, the Osceola Council on Aging (OCOA) tries to do our part in supporting those in the community who do not have Medicare or access to traditional healthcare. Our Health Clinic collaborates with volunteer medical professionals, and partners with healthcare providers to deliver healthcare services, medical education, specialist referrals, and case management to the underserved and uninsured residents of Osceola County. Breast related healthcare needs in our community are no different.

Through an arrangement with the Osceola County Health Department, the Council will host an event on Thursday, Oct. 6, in the lobby of the OCOA Kissimmee campus, for women who are uninsured and/or have no access to mammograms, an opportunity for free-of-charge testing. Additionally, during the entire month of October, through a partnership between OCOA and AdventHeath, residents can receive mammogram testing for $35.

“We also offer general ‘well women visits’ with the help of our volunteering gynecologists,” said Chris Hougland, Senior VP of Health Services at the OCOA. “These visits are extremely important to women who are uninsured and/or low income in need of consistent clinical services. These diagnostic tests also include pap tests and mammograms.”

As we all know, health insurance and medical costs can be quite burdensome so the OCOA aims to be an equalizing body ensuring all can receive any medical treatments as needed. With that, in addition to our onsite clinic in Kissimmee, we are proud to partner with St. _omas Aquinas year-round to operate a free clinic on Wednesdays. reports there are more than 3.8 million women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States; obviously, not a medical statistic which can be undervalued. Accordingly, mammograms are important —especially for women ages 40-44 who should have the choice to begin annual breast cancer screenings with mammograms if they wish to do so, according to Similarly, women ages 45-54 should have a mammogram performed annually.

In closing, I would like to thank the Osceola County Health Department, AdventHealth and St. Thomas Aquinas for working with the OCOA to keep the females of our community healthy and safe.

For more information on the OCOA Health Clinic, the services o red, and our event on Oct. 6, call 407-483-0021 to schedule an appointment.

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Published Wednesday, September 14th, 2022