Detect and protect against breast cancer
Monday, October 3, 2016
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, making it the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we want to make sure everyone is aware of how to detect and help protect against breast cancer.
Mammograms in young women with risks
Most cases of breast cancer are found in women 50 or older. However, this doesn’t mean that women younger than 50 are in the clear. Approximately 11 percent of new cases are found in women younger than 45.
A number of factors can contribute to an increased risk of breast cancer in younger women (under the age of 40):
- If close relatives have been diagnosed with breast cancer, especially at age 45 or younger.
- If there are changes in certain breast cancer genes.
- If your breast or chest were treated with radiation therapy earlier in life.
- If you have previously had breast cancer or breast health issues.
We recommend getting a mammogram if you are under the age of 40 and have one or more of those risks.
The best way to detect breast cancer is through a mammogram. A mammogram is an x-ray image of the breast. The image is read by doctors to detect early signs of breast cancer.
We recommend that women start getting annual mammograms at age 40 and continue doing so for the rest of their life.
Reduce your risk
Annual mammograms are great detectors, but there are other ways to help protect against and reduce the risk of breast cancer, such as:
- Keeping at a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly
- Limiting daily alcohol consumption to one drink or less
- Avoiding exposure to cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens)
- Reducing exposure to radiation during medical tests
- Doing a monthly self-exam so you recognize any changes
Doing this does not mean there is no need for a mammogram. Breast cancer can still develop.
If breast cancer does develop, know you’re not alone. BayCare Clinic has specialists whose goal is to provide the best possible breast health care and support you every step of the way.