October is National Breast Cancer awareness. So many have lost their lives, and so many are still fighting this brutal disease. I want to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of breast cancer screening.
Breast cancer screening is a way in which doctors check the breasts for early signs of cancer in women who have no symptoms of breast cancer. The main test used to screen for breast cancer is a special kind of X-ray called a mammogram.
The goal of breast cancer screening is to find cancer early before it has a chance to grow, spread, or cause problems.
Who should be screened for breast cancer?
Starting at the age of 40, it’s important to talk to your doctor about the benefits and drawbacks of screening and decide, with your doctor’s help, whether to get screening and when. If you’re under 40 but have a relative who got breast cancer at a young age, you should also talk to your doctor.
Women who are at high risk of breast cancer might need to begin screening at a younger age. This might include women who:
Carry genes that increase their risk of breast cancer, such as the “BRCA” genes
Have close relatives (such as a mother, sister, or daughter) who got breast cancer at a young age
What happens during a mammogram?
Before the mammogram, you will be asked to undress from the waist up and put on a hospital gown. Then your breasts will be X-rayed one at a time. Each breast is X-rayed twice. Each is X-rayed once from the top down and once from side-to-side so that the radiologist can get a good look at all the tissue. To make the breast tissue easier to see, a nurse or technician will flatten each breast between 2 panels.
This can be uncomfortable, but it lasts only a few seconds. If possible, avoid scheduling your mammogram just before or during your period. Breasts are extra sensitive at that time. Also, do not use underarm deodorant or powder on the day of your appointment.
Some Facts about breast cancer in the United States
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women
FACT: When Breast cancer is detected early, the 5-year survival rate is 100%
Together we can beat breast cancer, act, stay informed, know your body and report any sign.