Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Texas women, but 97 percent of women diagnosed early survive five years or more.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and HHS is working to get the word out about the screening programs available in Texas.

Texans can take steps to decrease the risk and improve early detection of the disease by following recommended screening guidelines for most adults.

Women ages 40 to 44 can start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms if they wish to do so. Women age 45 to 54 should get them done every year. Women 55 and older should complete them every two years, or continue yearly screening.

“We want to ensure women know that help exists, even if they don’t have insurance,” said Lesley French, HHS Associate Commissioner for Health, Developmental and Independence Services. “Screening and early detection are so important and make such a huge difference. Everyone needs to know it’s available.”

The Breast and Cervical Cancer Services program served almost 30,000 people last year, providing breast exams and diagnostic services for women with abnormal cancer screening results.

Low income women with no insurance might qualify for Medicaid for Breast and Cervical Cancer. There are currently about 4,000 women in the program, which covers all medical care for those who qualify, not just cancer treatments.

“Cancer is a terrifying word for anyone, but especially for people who don’t know how they can pay for treatment,” French said. “But when you catch it early, it’s much easier to treat and we can help you.”

For more information and to find a clinic near you, visit the Healthy Texas Women website.