Sage Advice Newsletter - Fall 2021

Sage - Minnesotas Cancer Screening Program

Sage Advice Newsletter

Fall 2021

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month


 Lady with a megaphone

Voter Registration

The Sage Program is working on integrating MN Statute 201.162 into its work. This statute says, “each state agency or community-based public agency or nonprofit corporation that contracts with the state agency to carry out obligations of the state agency shall provide voter registration services for employees and the public.” As Sage moves forward with new contracts, grants, and other agreements, we will include this language. Where appropriate, we will be asking our partners to help us ensure access to voter registration for program participants. Some ideas for this include:

An individual empowered to vote may also feel empowered to make positive changes in their health. We encourage our partners to consider incorporating voter registration information into their work with Sage participants.

New! Cancer-related Data

The Sage Program and the Minnesota Cancer Reporting System created two new breast cancer data sources released for October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Sage encourages you to review and share the following:

Sage Billing Update

The Sage Program continues to work on catching up with data entry of patient forms.  (Claims cannot be paid until patient screening data is received and entered.)  Hiring delays brought on by COVID have put us behind with data entry.  Currently, Sage is beginning entry of August enrollment and screening data.  This means that claims for August and September are all pending completion of data entry.  Please make note of this in your payment system and do not resend patient data thinking payment is delayed due to missing data.  This will slow down the process because Sage must review all incoming forms, including duplicate ones.

The good news is that two new staff have joined the Sage Program to help with the data entry backlog.  Cheyanne Davis is a new student worker and Jennifer Lucas is a new data entry clerk.  Both are quickly learning the program and are already making great progress on helping us catch up! 

For questions about billing, please contact or 651-201-5630.

Screening During the Pandemic

In first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sage Programs saw a large decrease in uptake of breast and cervical cancer screening services. Between March and November 2020, Sage screened about only 30% of the women it had screened the previous year. The decrease in screening was experienced differently among populations. For example, screening among American Indian women and white women decreased by 50% and 60%, respectively. While screening among African American women and Hispanic women decreased by much more (70% and 75%). Since that time, women have steadily returned to screening.  As of March 2021, Sage is back to screening 600 or more woman a month, a count on par with pre-COVID Sage screening numbers. We still have more work to do as American Indian and African American women have not entirely returned to screening in pre-COVID numbers. Sage is planning targeted recruitment campaigns to engage women to get screened for breast and cervical cancer.

BCEA Conference Moved to January

The 20th annual Breast Cancer Education Conference is rescheduled to January 22, 2022. Due to growing concerns over COVID-19, and with the safety and well-being of attendees, speakers, and partners as the number one priority, BCEA has decided that rescheduling the event is the only responsible course of action at this time. Rescheduling the Conference enables the BCEA to provide the experience that partners and attendees expect and deserve in a safe environment.

BCEA 20th Anniversary Logo


woman holding the breast cancer awarenss month ribbon

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Sage is dedicated to advancing breast cancer awareness and education and translating it to screening so cancer can be detected early before it becomes harder to treat. Sage is committed to working with its partners to empower Minnesota’s women to make healthy choices around breast cancer screening and prevention. This month, Sage is engaged in a wide variety of promotional and screening activities to reach women throughout the state with early detection messages. Initiatives consist of a mailing with a screening incentive offer that will be sent to 65,000 Minnesota women, encouraging them to get their mammograms. Staff will have a presence at various screening and other breast cancer-related events throughout October. Sage is actively partnering with local media, including KSTP channel 5, on a Facebook Live event taking place on October 28th.  Two Twin Cities radio stations, 98.9FM KMOJ and 94.9FM Radio Rey, will be running ads and conducting an interview with one of Sage’s own, Benita Robinson. Furthermore, Sage is publishing both human-interest articles and ads in local, demographic-specific newspapers. Sage hopes to bring greater health equity to groups of women who experience breast cancer mortalities and disparities. Additionally, Sage will be engaging in digital campaigns through social media and email, both will prompt women to get screened.

These activities exemplify Sage’s commitment to actively promoting breast health. We are hopeful that our cumulative campaign efforts will help to increase awareness, while connecting women with screening resources, including Sage. We are thankful for all our partners, collaborators, and allies in the fight against breast cancer. Thank you for all you do to help make a lifesaving difference for women. Because of all we do, there is hope.  


Benita Robinson

A Daughter’s Purpose: love, legacy, and the fight against breast cancer

Benita Robinson, a Minneapolis-based breast cancer advocate, through the power of resiliency, self-determination, and education, carries out the mission of advancing health equity for African American women. She has made it her life’s work to help connect African American women to breast cancer screenings, so that they can live long, healthy lives... 

Benita's full story can be read on the Sage website.

Benita’s Story

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Colorectal Cancer Screening: Updated USPSTF Recommendation

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently updated their colorectal cancer (CRC) screening recommendation.1 USPSTF previously recommended that adults at average risk for colorectal cancer begin CRC screening at age 50. The updated recommendation is for average risk adults to begin CRC screening at age 45. Adults are at average risk if they are non-symptomatic; have never been diagnosed with CRC, adenomatous polyps, or inflammatory bowel disease; and have no genetic disorders (Lynch syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis) in their family that makes them at higher risk for CRC. Lowering the age to begin CRC screening is important because over 10% of new CRC cases are diagnosed in adults younger than 50 and incidence of CRC in adults between 40 and 49 increased by almost 15% between 2000-2002 and 2014-2016.

The revised USPSTF recommendation is consistent with the American Cancer Society’s 2018 guideline to begin CRC screening at age 45.1,2 Insurance coverage for CRC screening in average risk adults under 50 will change to align with the updated recommendation as mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but it is important to be aware that it may take time for the coverage to be expanded. 3 See the full recommendation here.

  1. US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Colorectal Cancer: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. 2021;325(19):1965-1977.
  2. American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society Guideline for Colorectal Cancer Screening Available at: Accessed June 18, 2021.
  3. Cesanek J. USPSTF Recommends Lowering Age for Colorectal Cancer Screening, Mandating Insurance Coverage for Most Preventive Procedures. Available at: Accessed June 18, 2021.

Sage Screening Programs Save Lives!

Since 1991:

Total women Served: 170,109     

Total Breast Cancers Detected: 2,921  

Total Cervical Cancers Detected: 111  

women wearing pink and breast cancer ribbons