This week I will wrap up September as “Take Your Legislator to School” month. I have had wonderful opportunities to visit with students as well as educators regarding important issues surrounding our education system.

My activities have included visiting with retired teachers, panel discussions, classroom visits, and candid administrative discussions about how current legislation affects our school system as well as anticipated needs.

Solidifying meaningful legislation is a collective pursuit; but I intend to do my part by sharing what I learned on these impactful school visits this month in our upcoming legislative session as well as appropriate committee meetings.

Last week I shared that October is domestic violence awareness month. October is also breast cancer awareness month and I wanted to take some time to also visit about how it affects women in Arkansas.

As of 2016 in our state, there were almost 2,500 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and 400 of those patients died from the disease.

As we recognize October as breast cancer awareness, it is a chance to remind our fellow Arkansans how important it is to get regular mammograms for early detection of this horrible disease. It is also an opportunity to share how lifestyle changes could aid in prevention.

The 2017 Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 708 to ensure that annual mammograms for women over the age of 40 were covered by their insurance. The purpose of this Act was also to ensure that ultrasounds or 3D mammograms were covered for women with dense breast tissue. Traditional mammogram screening is effective for many women; however, ultrasounds are more effective for patients with dense tissue.

Many women diagnosed with breast cancer have no documented family history which suggests to medical professionals that disease factors must be lifestyle, environment, or work-related. Only approximately 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are believed to be caused by abnormal changes due to genes passed from parent to child or hereditary.

Please note that if you are underinsured or uninsured, you may qualify for a low-cost or free mammogram via the Arkansas BreastCare program.

The Arkansas BreastCare program has a mission to increase early detection rates. There services not only screen breast cancer but it also includes other cancer screenings which might reduce morbidity and mortality rates among our women in Arkansas.

This helpful service also decreases barriers to screenings such as lack of financial means, access to quality services, or access to information. Funded by the Arkansas Department of Health, the BreastCare program is also supported by the Arkansas Tobacco Excise Tax and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you would like more information on the BreastCare program of Arkansas, please visit the website www.healthy.arkansas.gov. Take care of yourselves Arkansans and please share this information with those you love.

Finally, I like to share informative items that constituents might find useful. If you have questions about any legislation or the legislative process, feel free to contact me at my House of Representatives email at don.glover@arkansashouse.org or by phone at 501-682-6211. Follow me on Facebook @GloverForAR.

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