Observe October events with web site info

Breast cancer and domestic violence targeted

 Put women’s health front and center at your facility this month, as October serves as Breast Cancer Control Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Check out the following web sites for information both you and your patients can use:

1. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Web: www.nbcam.org.

Seventeen national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies comprise the Board of Sponsors for this nonprofit group, working in partnership to raise awareness of the importance of early detection of breast cancer.

Special emphasis is placed on the third Friday in October, National Mammography Day. On this day, or throughout the month, participating radiologists provide discounted or free screening mammograms. In 2001, National Mammography Day will be celebrated on Oct. 19. Call the following national organizations to find out which facilities in your area are taking part in the event: American Cancer Society, (800) 227-2345; Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, (800) 462-9273; National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations, (888) 806-2226; Y-me National Breast Cancer Organization, (800) 221-2141.

Providers can download the 2001 Promotion Guide, which offers several ideas for promoting breast cancer awareness, as an Adobe Portable Document Format from the web site.

The web site also allows providers to freely download reproducible early detection brochures in English and Spanish, as well as print out 8.5 by 11-inch black and white posters featuring prevention messages with images of Asian-American, Hispanic, and African-American women. (See Early Detection Brochure in English and Spanish and fact sheet enclosed in this issue.)

2. American Cancer Society. Web: www.cancer.org.

The web site for this national organization, based in Atlanta, offers a great deal of information on breast cancer. Patient information includes a brochure, Breast Cancer Questions and Answers, a "Breast Cancer Early Detection" shower card, and a "Breast Cancer Early Detection" bookmark, with all available in English and Spanish. One free sample of each item may be ordered from the web site. To order multiple copies of any of these items, contact the organization at (800) 227-2345.

3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Web: www.acog.org.

Click on "Violence Against Women" at the introductory page of the Washington, DC-based professional society’s web site to review a wide variety of information on the subject.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) now recommends that physicians screen ALL patients for intimate partner violence.

For women who are not pregnant, screening should occur at routine OB/GYN visits, family planning visits, and preconception visits.

For women who are pregnant, screening should take place at various times over the course of the pregnancy, since some women do not disclose abuse the first time they are asked and abuse may begin later in pregnancy, according to ACOG.

How can you conduct a domestic violence screening? ACOG suggests making the following statement, "Because violence is so common in many women’s lives and because there is help available for women being abused, I now ask every patient about domestic violence."

Follow this statement with these three simple questions:

• Within the past year — or since you have been pregnant — have you been hit, slapped, kicked, or otherwise physically hurt by someone?

• Are you in a relationship with a person who threatens or physically hurts you?

• Has anyone forced you to have sexual activities that made you feel uncomfortable?

Providers who would like to conduct an inservice session on domestic violence may want to download a slide set, Intimate Partner Violence During Pregnancy: A Guide for Clinicians, which was developed by ACOG and the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The slide set is designed as a training tool to help clinicians understand their role in identifying, preventing, and reducing intimate partner violence. The slide set may be downloaded in PowerPoint Screen Show format from the CDC web site, www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/drh/violence/ipvdp_download.htm.

4. Family Violence Prevention Fund. Web: http://fvpf.org.

The Family Violence Prevention Fund, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization, sponsors "Health Cares About Domestic Violence Day" to raise awareness within the health care community about the importance of screening to prevent abuse. Oct. 10, 2001, is the third observance of this event.

A free "Screening to Prevent Abuse" packet of materials is available on the web site and via hard copy to assist providers in event planning. Also available free for download is Preventing Domestic Violence, a comprehensive routine screening document on domestic violence.