After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer that affects women; sadly, it’s also one of the deadliest. Thankfully this trend is slowly declining as more women are making use of early detection strategies to find breast cancer in its earliest stages. Early detection is key to increased survival rates.
The American Cancer Society recommends the following early breast cancer detection strategies (source: www.cancer.org):
· 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 exam as part of a periodic health exam by a health professional, at least every three years. After age 40, women should have a breast exam by a health professional every year.
· Breast self exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s. Women should be told about the benefits and limitations of BSE. Women should report any breast changes to their health professional right away.
· Women at high risk (greater than 20% lifetime risk) should get an MRI and a mammogram every year. Women at moderately increased risk (15% to 20% lifetime 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%.
*** MOST IMPORTANTLY: Breast cancer is not only a women’s disease! Men should also be aware of the signs. For more info regarding breast cancer in men, please visit http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/BreastCancerinMen/DetailedGuide/breast-cancer-in-men-diagnosis ***