This year alone, more than 330,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Breast cancer is the second leading cancer-related cause of death among American women, and every year, nearly 43,000 women die from the disease. Regular breast screenings and mammograms can help detect breast cancer early, when it is most treatable, and can save lives. That’s why during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Steward Health Care is standing with survivors and raising awareness about the importance of breast cancer screenings and early detection.
For many patients, the earliest symptoms tend to be the formation or feeling of lumps in the breasts. While not all lumps are cancerous, any lump should be examined by a medical professional to determine if it is benign or malignant.
Early detection and treatment are key to increasing survival rates and preventing death. Screenings like mammograms can help discover cancer well before a patient exhibits symptoms – sometimes years early – meaning the cancer is likely smaller, more contained, and more easily treatable. That’s why regular mammograms are essential. The ACS recommends women get mammograms in the following intervals, based on their age and risk factors:
Women between 40 and 44 have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year.
Women 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
Women 55 and older can switch to a mammogram every other year, or they can choose to continue yearly mammograms. Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live at least 10 more years.
Age, however, is not the only risk factor. A number of factors – including hereditary genes, family history of the disease, and more – may put some women at higher risk for breast cancer. The ACS recommends that those women get a breast MRI and a mammogram every year from age 30 onwards.
Continued advances in science and research, along with the development of new screening technology, have dramatically furthered the fight against breast cancer. Most recently, the advent of 3D mammography has helped make screenings more thorough and holistic, allowing for the discovery of more kinds of breast cancers – earlier.
Particularly after the disruptions to health care during the past eighteen months, getting regular screenings and check-ups is more important than ever. Early detection makes all the difference in the fight against breast cancer, so schedule your next mammogram at one of our health centers or offices today. To find a specialist in our network, please visit Steward DoctorFinder™ or call 800-488-5959.