RITA Foundation in collaboration with Westchase Imaging, Ltd. is the first free standing, nonprofit charitable organization in Houston to offer “Digital Mammography” for screening breast cancer in women, since April of 2004. This imaging modality has significantly higher resolution and can diagnose cancer at a very early stage, with much lower radiation as compared with analog mammography. Patients can self refer for screening. Qualified patients can receive the service free of charge or at a significantly discounted price.
RITA Foundation has organized mammography screening for indigent and minority women in the Houston Metropolitan. RITA has coordinated its efforts by American cancer society and minority organizations such as Iranian American Medical association (IAMA) of Texas. Several initiatives with Hispanic women organizations, Chinese-American, and Arab-American organizations are in progress.
Digital Mammography for Breast Cancer*
RITA Foundation in collaboration with Westchase Imaging, Ltd. is providing screening Mammography every year in October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) for all women at $80 per study regardless of their financial capability.
The exact date of the free/discounted screenings along with further details will be posted in this page by the end of September.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month, BCAM
Also referred to in America as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), is an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. The campaign also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer. As well as providing a platform for breast cancer charities to raise awareness of their work and of the disease, BCAM is also a prime opportunity to remind women to be breast aware for earlier detection.
Facts about Breast Cancer in the United States
- About 1 in 8 women in the United States (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
- In 2010, an estimated 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 54,010 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
- About 1,970 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in men in 2010. Less than 1% of all new breast cancer cases occur in men.
- From 1999 to 2006, breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. decreased by about 2% per year. One theory is that this decrease was partially due to the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by women after the results of a large study called the Women’s Health Initiative were published in 2002. These results suggested a connection between HRT and increased breast cancer risk.
- About 39,840 women in the U.S. were expected to die in 2010 from breast cancer, though death rates have been decreasing since 1990. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness.
- For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
- Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among U.S. women. More than 1 in 4 cancers in women (about 28%) are breast cancer.
- Compared to African American women, white women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer, but less likely to die of it. One possible reason is that African American women tend to have more aggressive tumors, although why this is the case is not known. Women of other ethnic backgrounds — Asian, Hispanic, and Native American — have a lower risk of developing and dying from breast cancer than white women and African American women.
- In 2010, there were more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.
- A woman’s risk of breast cancer approximately doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. About 20-30% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of breast cancer.
- About 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to gene mutations (abnormal changes) inherited from one’s mother or father. Mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common. Women with these mutations have up to an 80% risk of developing breast cancer during their lifetime, and they are more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age (before menopause). An increased ovarian cancer risk is also associated with these genetic mutations. In men, about 1 in 10 breast cancers are believed to be due to BRCA2 mutations and even fewer cases to BRCA1 mutations.
- About 70-80% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic abnormalities that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations.
- The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).