Although breast cancer is a scary reality for some women, fear and misinformation drive many women to conduct “search and destroy” missions on their breasts. The reality is that most women will not die from breast cancer. Furthermore, improved treatment options (many of which have fewer side effects and are better targeted toward just the breast) have significantly reduced the death rate in women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. All women can take steps to maintain breast health and lower their chances of developing breast cancer. In fact, the American Institute of Cancer Research reports that 70,000 cases of breast cancer per year (40 percent) could be prevented with lifestyle measures.
Breast health problems:
Most breast problems are not cancer and can be prevented with lifestyle measures. Unfortunately, the symptoms of serious and minor breast problems (such as fibrocystic changes and benign lumps) are similar.
See your doctor if you:
- Observe a change in one or both of your breasts
- Feel a lump
- Experience pain or irritation
- Notice a discharge from your nipple
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosis in women, and age is the biggest risk factor. The likelihood that a woman will develop breast cancer increases from 1 in 1,732 for a 20-year-old to 1 in 26 at 70. Other risk factors include genetics, use of contraception, family history, obesity after menopause and alcohol consumption. Not all breast cancers are alike. It is important for every woman to be screened.
The goal of cancer screening is to reduce cancer deaths by detecting and treating cancers before they spread. Cancer screening looks for signs of cancer in people who have no symptoms.
If you’re confused about recent changes in breast cancer screening recommendations, you are not alone. The changes were prompted by updates in the scientific evidence regarding who benefits most from mammograms and how much they benefit from it. It is recommended that women should begin getting a mammogram at age 40.
This October, IRMC Physician Group is spreading breast cancer awareness. See below for pictures from some of our offices during our organization-wide “Pink Out.”
Having a mammogram just got easier! Beginning, Monday, October 8, and every Monday thereafter, just walk-in to IRMC’s Women’s Imaging Center to have your 3D mammogram. Walk-ins are available at the M. Dorcas Clark, MD Women’s Imaging Center from 7 am to 5 pm, no appointment necessary!