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Breast-cancer awareness now in national consciousness
Date:4/8/2011

EUGENE, Ore. -- Each October, the color pink marks the arrival of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Media coverage, product promotions and even the football gridirons showcase the national effort to promote screenings and early detection of the cancer that 200,000 American women are diagnosed with each year.

New research from the University of Oregon examined more than 30 years of cancer registry data to determine if October events related to National Breast Cancer Awareness Months (NBCAM) lead to increases in breast cancer diagnoses in the following month of November.

The study, co-authored with George Mason University epidemiologist Kathryn Jacobsen, is titled, "Health Awareness Campaigns and Diagnosis Rates: Evidence from National Breast Cancer Awareness Month." It was published in the January 2011 Journal of Health Economics.

The study found that NBCAM events were effective at increasing November diagnoses during the mid-1990s when the awareness movement was expanding across the U.S. and was recognized by the federal government as an official event. In more recent years, researchers found little evidence of an increase in November diagnoses following October-time NBCAM events.

According to researchers, that may be a good thing. "In addition to showing a diminishing effect from NBCAM, the data indicate that the distribution of diagnoses over the calendar has become more uniform. Both of these findings suggest that women are now getting diagnosed as a result of routine screenings, as opposed to event-driven screenings. This is a good thing, since routine screening is likely to lead to earlier diagnoses," said Grant Jacobsen, a professor in the UO department of planning, public policy and management.

For the study, the researchers studied data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Registries database from five states and four metropolitan areas, the most complete record of
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Contact: Julie Brown
julbrown@uoregon.edu
541-346-3185
University of Oregon
Source:Eurekalert  

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