The College of Nursing and Health Care Professions is comprised of diverse health care disciplines, including nursing, health care administration, athletic training, public health and health care informatics. We are united by the common goal of training the next generation of health care professionals and leaders to effectively address health care challenges. The content of this blog includes perspectives on current health care topics, discussion about health care trends, a showcase of successful alumni and faculty and posts about our passion for our respective fields.
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Breast Cancer Awareness


By Dulce Maria Ruelas
Faculty, College of Nursing and Health Care Professions

October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. However, as a public health practitioner, awareness is ongoing. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in all race and ethnic background women (Lee et al., 2017). Most recent data (2014) positions breast cancer at an incidence of 236,968 new cases a year, which is a rate of 123.9 percent and 41, 211 deaths. This translates to a 20.5 percent yearly death rate among women (CDC, 2017). Current data (2014) records that the highest rate of incidence was in women ages 70-74 (CDC, 2017). In 2009 United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended there be biennial screening for women ages 50-74. The screening recommendation age has now shifted ten years. This means that screening now starts at age 40 and the timing from yearly to biennial, (Qin, Tangka, Guy, & Howard, 2016) thus then decreasing potential mammography’s among average-risk women of all ethnicities.

In 2009 the USPSTF provided their recommendation based on studies that provided epidemiological data to save one life and reduce mortality for the determination of proper population health decisions (Bhattacharya, 2013), shifting how screenings occur in the United States. This change translated into average-risk women in the younger age range to join other at-risk women to discuss their possibilities (potential benefit or harm) with their healthcare provider, an assumption that everyone has access to care.

The effectiveness of screening for the reduction of mortality rates is the ultimate goal of the USPSTF recommendation. A recommendation that assisted the healthcare industry to implement across clinics, hospitals, facilities and public health using scientific evidence that determined potential harm or benefits for population health (the most women) based on its interpretation at the time (Bhattacharya, 2013).  Mandelblatt et al. (2016) reveal that there has since (2009) been new benefits of screening that average-risk women can take advantage of to reduce breast cancer.  There are new screenings that include digital mammography and standardization of treatment regimes in comparison to only film mammography.  So what do all these new policies or recommendations mean to you?  It means talk to your health care provider, address the issue of self-examination, mammography screenings and do not fear to bring this concept up when you have a well women exam regardless of your age.  The more you become aware and used to discussing prevention the better you can prepare.

The College of Nursing and Health Care Professions at GCU is committed to providing both students and faculty with learning and growth opportunities. To learn more about our healthcare programs, visit our website or contact us using the Request More Information button on this page.


  • Bhattacharya, D. (2013). Public health policy: Issues, theories, and advocacy. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). United States cancer statistics: Data      visualizations. Retrieved from https://gis.cdc.gov/grasp/USCS/DataViz.html
  • Lee, H., Sharratt, M., Ghebre, R., Le, C., Jang, Y. J., & Yee, D. (2017). Mobile phone multilevel  and multimedia messaging intervention for breast cancer screening: Pilot randomized controlled Trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research, Mhealth and Uhealth5(11),   e154. doi:10.2196/mhealth.7091
  • Mandelblatt, J. S., Stout, N. K., Schechter, C. B., van den Broek, J. J., Miglioretti, D. L., Krapcho, M., & … Xuelin, H. (2016). Collaborative modeling of the benefits and harms associated with different U.S. breast cancer screening strategies.  Annals of Internal      Medicine164(4), 215. doi:10.7326/M15-1536
  • Qin, X., Tangka, F. L., Guy, G. J., & Howard, D. H. (2016). Mammography rates after the 2009       revision to the United States Preventive Services Task Force breast cancer screening    recommendation. Cancer Causes & Control28(1), 41-48.
About Dulce Ruelas, MPH, CHES, CBC
Instructor, Master of Public Health Program

Dulce Maria Ruelas was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States with her mother at the age of four. She is dedicated to the promotion of health education and has been an activist for human rights and public health to the Latino populations for the past 15 years.  She has worked and volunteered at grass-roots and non-profit organizations that advocate for the Latinos in promotion of health education.  Ms. Ruelas is currently an instructor in the Masters of Public Health Program.

Over the years Ms. Ruelas worked with a variety of disparate populations like the migrant and seasonal farmworkers, homeless, foster infant and children, substance exposed infants and children to immigrant and low income families. She has worked across all 15 Arizona State counties and in Chicago, Illinois to find health and dental services for pregnant women and children. She is also a breastfeeding counselor. Lastly, she is improving collaboration and community capacity in the areas of access to preventive health care, health information and health resources for children and their families by being a steering committee member with the Health Improvement Partnership of Maricopa County, City of Phoenix Head Start Policy Council, and board member of the Mountain Park Health Centers.