You’ve probably been seeing a lot of pink lately, since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States. One out of every eight women develops breast cancer. By the end of 2013, an estimated 232,340 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer; approximately 39,620 women will die from the disease.
A new report from the American Cancer Society found that since 1990, death rates from breast cancer in the United States have dropped 34%. This improvement can likely be attributed to more mammography screenings and better treatments. Of course, the best way to beat breast cancer is early detection. It’s estimated that a third of all breast cancer deaths in American could be prevented by early detection, and nine out of 10 women can survive breast cancer if it’s detected at its earliest stages.
Breast cancers found during screenings are usually smaller and still confined to the breast area, while the cancers that are found because they are causing symptoms tend to be larger and are more likely to have already spread beyond the breast. The size of a breast cancer and how far it has spread are some of the most important factors in predicting the prognosis.
In addition to monthly self-examinations, the American Cancer Society recommends women 20 to 40 years old have a clinical evaluation every three years, and women over 40 have a mammogram and clinical breast exam every year. If you are between 75-80, ask your doctor if mammograms are recommended.
Shell Point Retirement Community hosts Radiology Regional Center’s “Mobile Mammo” on campus for its residents and employees several times a year, making it easy to schedule annual screening mammograms—the key to the life-saving early detection of breast cancer. For more information about the Mobile Mammo, visit www.radiologyregional.com.