It’s breast cancer awareness month and for the average woman, that means thinking about what it takes to prevent this disease.
“Early detection is key. The smaller that a breast cancer is detected, the less likely it is to metastasize or spread to other organs or the bones. The earlier a breast (cancer) is discovered, the more likely the chance for a cure,” said Dr. Jeff Falk, a physician on staff at St. John Medical Center in Macomb Township.
- Annual mammograms beginning at age 40 save lives. At that age, the incidence of breast cancer begins to climb. There have been studies showing a 30 percent decrease in mortality due to breast cancer with routine annual mammography, Falk said.
- Any woman with a new palpable lump in her breast should go for breast imaging mammograms or an ultrasound immediately, regardless of age.
- Young women get breast cancer, too. All women in their late teens and older should perform monthly self breast exams and have an annual exam by a physician.
According to the American Cancer Society, women may also be at higher risk if they:
- have a family history of the disease
- use birth control pills
- started menstruating early (before 12) and/or went through menopause later (after age 55)
- have 2 to 5 drinks daily
- are overweight or obese, and other factors.