The secret to beating breast cancer is only two words long: early detection. It’s responsible for turning the tide in the fight against breast cancer as well as the dramatically improving survival rates. When we catch breast cancer early, we can strike back effectively.
Conduct Routine Self-exams
Self breast exams (checking your own breasts) are an important part of screening. This should not take the place of annual mammograms. Self breast exams are an additional tool that can be helpful in early detection.
It’s also important to be aware that changes in the breast can occur due to pregnancy, aging, menopause, menstrual cycles, or from taking birth control pills and hormones. Under these circumstances, it’s normal for breasts to feel a little lumpy and uneven. If you feel yourself feeling unsure, or have concerns, contact your physician and get evaluated immediately. Doing so could save your life.
Get A Mammogram
Awareness must be combined with action. The anxiety around getting tested, or having a mammogram, can be a stressful experience, but not knowing what lies ahead is even scarier. It’s estimated that between 80 to 90 percent of women who get breast cancer have no family history of the disease. We encourage every woman, age 40 and older, to get an annual mammogram. If you’re considered high-risk (with a family history or personal experience with breast cancer), you may benefit from screening before age 40. See your doctor to discuss the best recommendations for you.
If you can’t afford a mammogram, or have a high deductible, you may be eligible for a free screening through local programs in your state. If interested, take a look at these useful resources:
To find a board certified physician in your area to discuss your options related to mastectomy or lumpectomy, click here.
To find a board certified physician in your area to discuss your options related to reconstruction, click here.