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For Release:
September 29, 2004

Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.

For Further Information Contact:
Jennifer Sciortino

NJ Department of Health and Senior Services Kicks-Off Breast Cancer Awareness Month with “Pink Ribbon” Campaign


TRENTON -- New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. was joined by women legislators and cabinet officers on the steps of the Statehouse today to kick off “New Jersey’s Statewide Pink Ribbon Campaign to End Breast Cancer.” This October marks the 20th annual observation of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.


The campaign, which is sponsored by DHSS’ New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection (NJCEED) Program, is centered on the theme “Paint the County Pink” and will include breast cancer awareness events in all 21 counties throughout the month of October. 


During the kick-off event, Dr. Lacy read a proclamation on behalf of Governor James E. McGreevey, declaring the month of October as “New Jersey’s Statewide Pink Ribbon Campaign to End Breast Cancer.”  The goal of the campaign is to reduce breast cancer incidence and death through increased awareness and early detection in all populations. 


Breast cancer is a major health concern for families in New Jersey with an estimated 7,070 women expected to be diagnosed with the disease and an estimated 1,480 to die from breast cancer this year.  In New Jersey, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related death in women. 


“A woman’s chances of developing breast cancer are related to many factors.  Among the known risk factors are age, family history, late or no childbearing, obesity, early menstruation or late menopause,” said Dr. Lacy.  “However, the best protections against breast cancer are a healthy lifestyle, screening for early detection and treatment.”


Although roughly 99 percent of all breast cancers occur in women, men are also susceptible.   There were 2.2 cases of male breast cancer for every 100,000 men in New Jersey in the year 2000, according to the NJ Cancer Registry. 


This year’s state budget includes $5.4 million to support NJCEED’s cancer education and detection programs. In addition, Governor McGreevey has allotted a special $90,000 appropriation to promote October’s breast cancer awareness campaign.  As part of the campaign, each of the 25 county-based NJCEED Program Lead Agencies will be conducting “Paint the County Pink” events throughout the month to reinforce the public awareness message.


Events will include mammogram screenings, health fairs, seminars, educational displays, fundraising walks/runs and art expositions.  For a complete listing of statewide events for the month, visit


NJCEED agencies offer a wide range of breast, cervical, colorectal and prostate cancer related services, including:  mammogram screenings, clinical breast examinations, instructions on breast self-examinations, Pap tests, and pelvic examinations. When indicated, further diagnostic tests are performed, such as needle biopsies, breast ultrasounds and colposcopies.  Case management, tracking and follow-up are provided to all women and a major emphasis is placed on re-screening women who are currently being served by the program.


The American Cancer Society recommends the following guidelines for early detection:

  • Women 40 and older should have a mammogram every year, as well as an annual breast exam by a health professional.
  • Women in their 20’s and 30’s should have a clinical breast exam as part of a regular health exam by a health professional every three years.
  • Breast self-examination is an option for women starting in their 20’s.
  • Women at increased risk (e.g.: family history, genetic tendency, past breast cancer) should talk with their doctors about the benefits and limitations of starting mammography screenings earlier, having additional tests (e.g.: breast ultrasound or MRI) or having more frequent exams.

If you are 40 years or older and your insurance does not cover an annual mammography, contact a NJCEED agency near you to see if you are eligible for free screening services.  For more information on services or the nearest NJCEED agency, individuals should visit or call (609) 292-8540.

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