October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of breast cancer, prevention and treatment. It is the most common cancer in the world among women, with 1 in 8 women developing invasive breast cancer. AdvantageCare Physicians OBGYN Physician Assistant Kristen Layne shared six facts about breast cancer with us to help raise awareness and encourage women to take preventative measures, such as a mammography screening.
- A woman may be at high risk for breast cancer if she has certain risk factors, which include a family history of breast, ovarian or other inherited types of cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, chest radiation treatments at a young age, or a history of high-risk breast biopsy results.
- Mammography is the primary tool used to screen for breast cancer. Screenings are the most effective way of reducing the risk of breast cancer and increasing the chances of survival.
- For women who are at an average risk for breast cancer, a mammography is recommended every one to two years beginning at the age of 40. All women should start screening for breast cancer by the age of 50.
- For women who are at an average risk for breast cancer and do not have any symptoms, clinical breast exams are recommended every one to three years for women 25 to 39 years of age, and every year for women 40 years of age and older.
- Be aware. Learn and know what is normal for your breasts so you can detect any changes—even small changes—and report them to your OB/GYN or other health care professional.
- Breast cancer is often discovered by women themselves through self-examinations, rather than by their doctors. This occurs in almost half of all cases of breast cancer in women aged 50 years and older. In women younger than 50 years, more than 70% of cases of breast cancer are detected by the women themselves.