October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages.
By being alert to any breast changes and having exams and tests according to American Cancer Society guidelines for early detection, breast cancer can be found at the earliest possible stage, when it is most treatable. In addition, these exams and tests sometimes find certain benign breast conditions.
American Cancer Society recommendations for early breast cancer detection:
• Women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.
• Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast examination by a health professional as part of a regular health exam, at least every 3 years. Starting at age 40, women should have a breast exam by a health professional every year.
• Breast self-examination is an option for women starting in their 20s. Women should be told about the benefits and limitations of BSE. Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and should report any breast changes to their health professional right away.
• Women at high risk for breast cancer should get a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the breast and a mammogram every year. Women at moderately increased risk should talk with their doctors about the benefits and limitations of adding MRI screening to their yearly mammogram. Yearly MRI screening is not recommended for women whose lifetime risk of breast cancer is less than 15%.
We have made a lot of progress but still have a long way to go!
If you would like more information please go to:
Early Detection – National Breast Cancer Foundation
Nikki Sayles, AAPA, ACS, ALMI
Senior Customer Service Representative