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Office of the First Lady

For Immediate Release April 27, 1995
     First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton to Kick-Off Administration's
                 Medicare Mammography Awareness Campaign

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton will officially kick-off the Clinton Administration's Medicare Mammography Awareness Campaign on Monday, May 1, 1995.

The campaign will feature public service announcements by the President and Mrs. Clinton and a special "Mama-gram" campaign in honor of Mother's Day. The "Mama-gram" campaign will include pre-printed messages for greeting cards that will be available in card stores nationwide and special cards to be included in Mother's Day bouquets. The aim of the campaign is to encourage older women to utilize the Medicare benefit that provides for regular mammograms and to increase awareness about the importance of regular screenings for all women.

One out of eight women in this country will contract breast cancer at some point during her lifetime. Older women are at a higher risk because the incidents of breast cancer increase with age. Medicare covers mammograms, but the data show that, over a two year period, fewer than 40 percent of women aged 65 and older who are on Medicare take advantage of this benefit.

This year Mrs. Clinton conducted listening sessions with senior women and doctors at hospitals and senior centers around the country in an effort to encourage older American women to utilize the Medicare mammography benefit. During the previous two years, many older women across the country have conveyed their concerns about breast cancer to the First Lady. To answer their concerns, Mrs. Clinton explored the issue with officials at the Department of Health and Human Services and learned that too few older women were taking advantage of the Medicare mammography benefit.

"The stories I have been told by women have taught me a lot about how this issue of breast cancer is being perceived," Mrs. Clinton said. "As much work as we have done on it in our country, there are still large parts of our population who don't think it applies to them, who believe that early detection won't do any good for them, or who have fears that have to be addressed as we attempt to try to make all of our women healthier. I hope every American will encourage the women in their lives to get regular mammograms."